A bitterly cold night at Thame’s ASM Stadium saw United go through to the semi-final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup with a 1-0 win over a game Chinnor side. Deane Smalley's penalty decided a well contested match for a United side that combined experience and youth.
The game saw a welcome return for Andy Whing for the first 45 minutes while Max Crocombe, Harry Worley, Simon Heslop, and Josh Parker all got longer game time alongside a crop of United’s promising youngsters.
United had the first real chance in the 13th minute, when young defender Sam Long’s drive from the edge of the area was acrobatically tipped aside by Chinnor keeper Ben Taunton. Harry Worley rose highest from the resultant corner, but his powerful header was straight at Taunton. However, while United dominated possession, Chinnor looked dangerous on the break and Ryan Daly got behind the defence in the 16th minute but could only slice his shot wide of Max Crocombe’s post.
Two minutes later United came close to breaking the deadlock when Simon Heslop’s shot from distance was parried by Taunton and Callum O’Dowda pounced on the rebound, but his shot from a narrow angle smacked against the post and was cleared. Dave Lynn’s drive from distance that went not far over in the 38th minute was the only other real opportunity in a battling first half.
United penned Chinnor back in the second half, sub James Roberts seeing a header well saved and Parker’s low drive on 55 minutes forcing the overworked Taunton into a decent save. Taunton also did well to parry a Callum O’Dowda effort round the post just before the hour,
A goal was coming and on 68 it was Smalley who casually rolled home a penalty after Roberts had been felled inside the box by full back Steve Newell.
The U's had further chances with Parker going close and a Heslop free kick from all of 25 yards tipped on to the bar by the overworked Taunton on 75 minutes.
United: Crocombe, Long, Ashby, Whing (Roberts 46), Worley, Lynn, O’Dowda, Heslop, Humphreys, Parker, Smalley
Subs not used: Hackett, Martin, Ekpiteta, Clarke