'Extreme disappointment' - McKenna's verdict on 1-1 draw at Oxford

Kieran McKenna after the final whistle at Oxford.

Kieran McKenna after the final whistle at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna expressed 'extreme disappointment' after his side conceded a 95th minute equaliser at Oxford United this afternoon.

The Blues were seconds away from a massive win against high-flying opposition, following Bersant Celina's 70th minute goal, only to see Luke McNally head home at a last-gasp corner.

It leaves Town still six points adrift of the League One play-off places with seven games to go.

"Obviously it's extreme disappointment in the dressing room," said McKenna. "I'm sure it was disappointing for the fantastic fans that we had today after the support that they gave us.

"I thought, in the second half especially, that was a performance that deserved a win. I didn't think they looked like scoring.

"We could have and should have put the game to bed with the amount of counter-attacking opportunities that we had. When you don't manage to do that, at 1-0, things can happen.

"In my time here we've seen games out really well, but today one moment, one set play has cost us."

Conor Chaplin after the equaliser late in injury time at Oxford.

Conor Chaplin after the equaliser late in injury time at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

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The Northern Irishman continued: "I thought we flipped the momentum at the start of the second half. I really had the feeling at half-time that it would be our half in the second half.

"Conditions played a part in that. There was a really strong wind going down one end which made it quite difficult in the first half. I was really confident second half we would pin them in.

"I thought the team did that right from the first seconds of the second half.

"We then brought Sam (Morsy) and Macauley (Bonne) on nice and early (52nd minute). We got the goal and I really fancied us to go on from there and win it. We just didn't manage to get it over the line.

"Our patterns, our structure, how we play our football was there in not easy conditions. I thought we were good value for the three points in the second half, but a moment has gone against us."

Bersant Celina celebrates scoring for Ipswich at Oxford.

Bersant Celina celebrates scoring for Ipswich at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich are now 10 games unbeaten, having conceded just six goals in 16 games under McKenna, though it's now five matches without a win against teams higher in the table (Bolton, Sheff Weds, MK Dons, Portsmouth and Oxford).

"To be honest, I don't think we've had too many of the small margins games go our way," said the Blues boss.

"The games that we've won we've thoroughly deserved to win and in some of the games we've dropped points in the small margins haven't gone our way.

"It's up to us to improve. If we play the last 20 minutes better, if we are where we want to be as a team, then we go and score the second goal and be a little bit more clinical.

"We can't bemoan luck. We have to look at ourselves, we have to improve. We've held onto leads well. I guess what you could say is that not often enough we've gone on to get a second and third goal and kill it off.

"We have to keep doing all the good things we did today but next time we find ourselves in that situation we probably have to be a little bit more calm and clinical. Then you're not relying on small margins."

Bersant Celina celebrates scoring for Ipswich at Oxford.

Bersant Celina celebrates scoring for Ipswich at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

He added: "We've played a good amount of the teams higher up the league now and I think, so far, we've matched up pretty well to anyone.

"We've got a few more big challenges to go, starting with Plymouth next Saturday.

"We have a full week now to prepare for another massive game. We have a responsibility to pick ourselves up and get ready to go again because we know there will be fantastic support at Portman Road."