Football: Problems mounting fast for McGhee

Oxford United 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Online
On days like this Joey Beauchamp is a shining talent out of place amid the glamourless surroundings of the Manor Ground, but it is where his heart lies and nothing will drag him away. Here is one player Mark McGhee will not be considering this week as he looks to improve his seriously weakened squad.

Wolves had injuries last season but they made a better job of winning First Division matches than is their current mood. They were very poor yesterday and the problems apparent at the back could only partially explain where they went wrong.

Afterwards McGhee said he hoped to bring in a new face before the weekend. A miracle worker able to coax the likes of Curle, Sedgley, Williams and Richards - four absentee central defenders - back to fitness sooner rather than later is what he needs more than anything else.

"We knew before the start with the defenders we had unavailable that we were likely to concede one goal or more," the Wolves manager said. "What disappointed me more was that our attacking players did not give Oxford any problems. It seems I have over-estimated the capability of our young players and so I hope to bring someone in this week, but I won't be rushed into spending. There's a long way to go to make up for this start."

The campaign began with successive wins but Wolves have taken just four points from the last 12, and if they carry on in that fashion it will not be McGhee who is spending Sir Jack Hayward's riches. They sorely lacked a player with the ability to commit and confuse defenders in the manner that Beauchamp ach- ieved so splendidly.

Briefly at the start Robbie Keane threatened to be just that figure, but he gradually disappeared from view and in between Steve Bull's third- minute mis-kick and two late efforts, one of which Wolves' record goalscorer lifted into the car park, his side were unable to make any impact.

Beauchamp's 17th-minute opener, after he gathered possession just over the half-way line, came surprisingly from his right boot after Mike Stowell had blocked his initial shot off his favoured left.

That transformed Oxford from the side who had lost their previous four League games and in the 23rd minute they were two ahead when Bobby Ford found room to steer his shot past the goalkeeper.

Beauchamp's second, 19 minutes from time, came after he was given a free passage to cut in and aim a low drive just inside the far post.

Goals: Beauchamp (17) 1-0; B Ford (23) 2-0; Beauchamp (71) 3-0.

Oxford United (3-5-2): Whitehead; L Robinson, Whelan (Massey, 74), Purse; Remy (Gilchrist, 68), B Ford, Smith, Beauchamp, Angel; Aldridge, Jemson (Cook, 89).

Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-5-2): Stowell; Kubicki, Atkins, Coleman; J Smith (Wright, h-t), Ferguson, Keane, C Robinson, Froggatt; Bull, Diaz (Paatelainen, h-t). Substitute not used: Crowe.

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).

Bookings: Oxford: Angel, Whelan. Wolves: Robinson, Paatelainen, Atkins.

Man of the match: Beauchamp.

Attendance: 6,921.