First goals at the Kassam Stadium from Jordan Bowery
and Chey Dunkley
, and goals from Danny Hylton
and Kemar Roofe
, earned Oxford United an emphatic 4-0 win over York City this evening. A close-range finish from Bowery, who now has six goals in six starts, and a thumping header from the powerful Dunkley paved the way before a fine goal from the excellent Hylton and a simple finish from Roofe sealed an important win and helped the U's make it three wins on the bounce as they continue to push for promotion.
After three goals in his last two games it was little surprise that Bowery, preferred up front to Chris Maguire
, had the first effort of the night with a low shot that flew narrowly wide. However, York’s 4-5-1 shape gave the U’s a different sort of challenge to overcome and the visitors were quick to break and a little unlucky with two or three threaded passes in the first ten minutes that were cut out by alert defenders.
United were a touch sloppy on 13 minutes when Danny Hylton
robbed a dawdling defender by the goal line but couldn’t find the unmarked Bowery inside him. But the reprieve was brief for the visitors and on 15 minutes Bowery’s golden run continued with a poacher’s goal. Hylton paved the way and fed Callum O’Dowda who delayed his shot before stabbing an effort goalwards. Keeper Michael Ingham, the one player left on the pitch from the two clubs’ Wembley meeting in 2010, clawed it away but could only lift the ball on to the knee of Bowery six yards out, from where it dropped almost apologetically behind the keeper and into the waiting net.
York’s game plan didn’t change after falling behind and the match remained cagey but the early goal had settled any nerves that United might have had and some of their approach play was very easy on the eye, even if it didn’t create a host of chances.
A word here for the fans. It may not have been the biggest crowd of the year but the songs were non-stop from the East Stand and they did all they could to keep driving their team forward.
and the terrific Jonjoe Kenny (twice) saw shots beaten away as United tried to find a second goal that would surely kill the game off before half time, while a Chey Dunkley
header and a Hylton effort went close inside the first five minutes of the second half.
O'Dowda, driving in from the left, almost sneaked in with two half chances but the Minstermen were proving stubborn opposition and had one or two opportunities at the other end that they should have perhaps made more of: Vadaine Oliver spraying the ball into the stand when he had men galloping alongside him and skipper Russ Penn shooting over when well placed on 68 minutes. Those two chances apart, the men from York were pretty toothless and will need to show more fight if they are to pull away from danger.
Roofe made a welcome return just after the hour and on 72 it was effectively game over from a corner that York will argue should have been a goal kick. Decisions like that don't go your way when you are struggling as they are and from Roofe's inswinging corner Dunkley powered through two weak challenges and gleefully thumped his header past the helpless Ingham to make it 2-0 and game over.
The goal of the night belonged to Hylton whose work rate and perseverance never drop. On 79 minutes he was inside the box and on the left and seemingly heading down a blind alley. Suddenly he drifted back, cut inside and his finish was exquisite, a curling effort into the far corner of the net for an outstanding 11th of the season.
York were done for and Roofe's 21st of the season, a tap in after yet more good work from Hylton and a shot from Ruffels had been blocked but ran kindly for him, put the seal on the convincing home win that United had needed to back up their superb away form.
They move above their next opponents, Plymouth, but perhaps more importantly edge eight points clear of the chasing pack. Plenty more football to come but was tonight a pivotal point in the chase for promotion?
See you in Plymouth...
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Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels and Darrell Fisher, stats by Opta
See highlights and reaction in Yellow Player HD