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INTERVIEW: We want to be playing in those games

3 May 2016

Luke Joyce on the Oxford United game

Midfielder Luke Joyce spoke to us shortly after full time following the defeat to Oxford in the last home game of the season on Saturday.

"We started the game quite brightly but we obviously conceded the penalty, which was disappointing," he said. "From then on they were playing on the counter attack, and we had a few chances in their box, but they just didn't seem to fall for us.

"We had a strong penalty shout in the second half which we were bitterly disappointed not to get. If we'd been given it and put it away then it maybe would have changed the game. They're a good team, they're good going forward and they defended resolutely at the back, but it just wasn't our day."

On the Oxford penalty, which was awarded after four minutes, he said: "I was right next to Mark [Ellis] as he made the tackle. As soon as it happened I nicked the ball away from the lad.

"If the player hadn't gone over I might have got the ball and we would have played on. I'm not sure exactly what happened but it was disappointing to give them a penalty so early in the game.

"We just had to keep going after that. We stuck to the game plan which had been put in place for a reason. We were desperate to get the equaliser but the balls into the box might have not been right and people weren't making the right connection. It wasn't through lack of trying, we just couldn't nick that goal."

"We battled away," he continued. "We had a couple cleared off the line and when shots were taking deflections they were falling to their players rather than ours. As I say, it wasn't through the want of trying and on another day we could have had two or three.

"I had a couple of chances myself and I was a bit disappointed with the one in the second half. I think it took a deflection then got cleared off the line. I didn't quite catch it cleanly but sometimes when you do that it can work out better and end up going in. It just wasn't meant to be.

"I've been a little bit disappointed with some of my performances at home over the season. I seem to have done better away from home, whether that's down to the way we play or being in the away team suits me. I know I can do better."

"Oxford are a good team," he told us. "They've been up there all season and we did well down there earlier in the season. We came away disappointed not to have won, so we really felt like we could get something out of the game. They were better than they were when we played them down there.

"You look at Oxford and their travelling support and they were all really fighting for that three points because they knew promotion could be round the corner.

"We want to be playing in those games next season. Our travelling fans are as good as any, so if we can start next season on a high we'll take the improvement we've had this season and progress again."

On the season as a whole, he said: "It's been an improvement on last season. At the start of each season the remit is always to improve on your last. We know we could have done better than where we are in the league.

"We've put in performances to justify that but over the last few weeks we haven't won enough games or scored enough goals. At the end of the day, we are where we deserve to be.

"We've got to look to improve again next season. We want to finish on a high next week at Notts County and get three points which will hopefully put us in the top ten. That would make it a good, solid season and give us something to build on next year.

"I think it's important for the players, staff, fans and the club to win at Notts County. We want to win the game and finish the season on a high, we've got the awards dinner on the Sunday and it would be nice to go to that knowing you've picked up three points the day before."

"The fans have been through some real ups and downs this season but they've stuck with us throughout," he commented. "They've had the ups of the cup runs and obviously the downs of the floods and having to travel away to play our home games.

"They've been fantastic, they've travelled a lot of miles and spent their hard-earned money to go to places like Plymouth on Tuesday nights. They follow us through thick and thin and we really appreciate it all."

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