U18S REPORT: CAMBRIDGE UTD 1 OXFORD UTD 4Oxford United continued their winning streak with a comfortable victory at Cambridge on Saturday in Youth Alliance Merit League 2.
The scholars started the game well with attacking intent and an endeavour to put the visitors on the back foot, and set about creating momentum in the opening exchanges.
United passed the ball well and looked to build the game where possible against a physical opponent who clearly outmuscled them and had a huge desire in the team to win. Oxford were an organised side, well drilled and well-rehearsed on restarts and set plays and that showed throughout the morning.
It was Oxford who took the lead from a corner, with a bullet header having reacted well to a near post flick from the Cambridge defender. Oxford pushed hard and looked to further their lead, but Cambridge held firm and responded with an excellent goal of their own. A searching cross field ball from Harry Lea was expertly headed back into the path of Justin Leavers whose effort was well saved before Foy lashed it back goal ward with his left foot.
Oxford led at the break with a disputed goal to give them the lead, a close call from the assistant referee adjudged the forward to be onside and he finished well when one on one with the keeper.
The second half saw Oxford turn the screw and go for the game with some powerful attacking play. Two further goals came from corners which would have frustrated the team, although they carried little threat themselves and weren’t really in the game to claim a positive result.
Coach Mark Bonner said: “We played ok in the first half. We got back into the game well and scored a terrific goal but never got to grips with their pace and power in the attacking half.
“In the second half, I thought we lacked quality with the ball and were a soft touch. We didn’t have enough about us to defend properly. We gave them too many opportunities to load the ball in our box with poor fouls, poor clearances and poor pressing intensity.
“With the ball, we were sloppy and didn’t keep it for long enough to open them up and cause them problems. We’ve been beaten by a well organised team who are powerful and been together a while, that’s clear. But that said, we need to be better than that.
“There are five games to go and will look to respond against Northampton next week, who themselves are in fine form and will be physically well equipped.”
Team: Macree, Shaw, Jones (Squire 70), Williams (Darling 70), Emmins, Lea, Bell-Toxtle (Neal 75), Chambers-Shaw, Foy, Worman, Leavers