While the big events this year are well known, we pick 12 alternative moments which sum up Oxford United's eventful 2017...

January 21

Ryan Taylor’s goal at Spotland

Herald Series:

OXFORD United began the year in the bottom half of the Sky Bet League One table and a 2-1 defeat at AFC Wimbledon gave little hint of a top-six charge.

A week later hopes were not high as they visited a Rochdale side sitting fifth and unbeaten at home in the league since August.

But United blew them away 4-0, with Ryan Taylor’s acrobatic effort crowning a terrific display.

It was both the start and end of something.

Taylor and Alex MacDonald departed as Appleton’s promotion-winning squad broke up further, while it began a five-game winning run which included Newcastle United and Swindon Town.

February 21

Ryan Ledson’s clearance

THREE days on from the draining FA Cup defeat at Middlesbrough, United showed impressive reserves of energy to bounce back with a win at Charlton Athletic.

Conor McAleny’s long-range effort put them in front at the Valley, but even with ten men the hosts pushed hard late on.

Only a magnificent header from Ryan Ledson off his own line to prevent the Addicks pinching an equaliser in stoppage time.

It sealed a victory which, when followed up by a 4-0 thumping of Chesterfield the following weekend, raised hopes of a play-off push.

March 21

Defeat to Bolton

CUP runs caused a pile-up of fixtures which steadily wore United down in the spring.

Despite wins against Peterborough, Scunthorpe and Bury, they lost four games in March which kept the play-offs just out of reach.

The televised clash with Bolton Wanderers, like the meeting with Sheffield United a fortnight earlier, saw the U’s cause problems, but dwindling reserves of energy exposed a gap to sides heading for the Championship as United went down 4-2.

April 22

McAleny’s double

Herald Series:

THE league wobbles in March meant a brief hangover from defeat at Wembley ended United’s play-off hopes with three games remaining.

Their second wind came just too late – and the way they ran out 3-0 winners against a Millwall side who a month later won the play-offs was bittersweet.

McAleny scored a classy double in the opening nine minutes to silence The Den and leave United wondering what might have been.

May 24

Dunkley rejects contract

Herald Series:

THE signs United were heading for a turbulent summer began early.

Michael Appleton had emphasised the importance of getting business done quickly, but May delivered a series of setbacks.

While United got nowhere in attempting to secure deals for Chris Maguire and McAleny, they were also losing their own players.

Chey Dunkley had turned down offers during the season and rejected another to become a free agent, later joining Wigan Athletic.

June 19

Fiacre Kelleher signs

Herald Series:

ONE of the strangest transfer deals at Oxford United in recent years saw the 21-year-old join from Celtic.

It came in the middle of the limbo period where Michael Appleton was still technically in charge but it was clear he was off to Leicester City.

The uncertainty had seen Liam Lindsay pull out of a £350,000 move at the last moment, but fellow centre half Kelleher was not put off.

Seen as one for the future, he was loaned out to Solihull Moors.

July 15

Post-match in Portugal

Herald Series:

OXFORD United’s latest summer tour was their biggest yet, with an estimated 700 fans travelling to the Algarve.

They vastly outnumbered the supporters from Middlesbrough and Hull City, their friendly opponents in Albufeira who had been in the Premier League only weeks earlier.

While United performed well on the pitch, it was the aftermath of both games which was the biggest hit.

After Boro, the players spent an hour talking to supporters, while the Hull match finished with a group photo.

August 12

Gino van Kessel’s debut goal

PEP Clotet’s appointment in July led to a change of direction in recruitment, with six overseas players signing.

While his U’s career has been mixed at best, Gino van Kessel began with a bang.

Just three minutes into his debut, the Slavia Prague loanee hit a stunning goal to back up pre-match boasts he would scare League One defenders.

September 30

Second half at Peterborough

Herald Series:

A BRIGHT start under Clotet had faded and a fourth straight defeat was on the cards when they trailed at third-placed Peterborough United.

But the U’s hit back with an astonishing half of football to win 4-1, as Jack Payne ran the show to have a hand in each of the goals.

With Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, a Thai businessman linked with a takeover of the club, looking on, the highlight was a lightning counter-attack finished by Joe Rothwell on an afternoon where the future looked bright.

October 21

Rotherham rollercoaster

UNITED’S first half of the 2017/18 season in a nutshell.

Scintillating attacking football saw United come from 1-0 down to lead 3-1 in a 20-minute period which also saw Ryan Ledson have a penalty saved.

But the brittle defence which has proved their Achilles heel under Clotet allowed the Millers to claim a 3-3 draw.

November 22

Ribeiro retires

Herald Series:

THE squad has had its fair share of long-term injuries since August, but they pale into comparison with Christian Ribeiro’s decision to hang up his boots.

The full back (pictured) was a popular figure, but after losing most of last season to a serious ankle injury, a knee problem saw him call it a day.

December 23

Will Grigg’s third goal

THE lowest point of the year’s longest 90 minutes saw Will Grigg complete his hat-trick in farcical fashion.

John Mousinho inexplicably controlled a harmless cross in his own six-yard box, gifting an unmissable chance.

That made it 5-0 and Wigan Athletic added two more to inflict United’s heaviest ever league defeat at home.

  • Pictures by David Fleming and Richard Parkes
  • Videos via Oxford United's official Youtube channel