The U’s ended their pre-season with a win as two goals from Tom Craddock gave them a 2-0 win over local rivals Oxford City. Craddock’s goals, one on each half, continued the encouraging trend of the strikers sharing the goal around in the warm up matches and will have given Chris Wilder food for thought ahead of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup curtain raiser at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night.
United took the opportunity to take a look at three new trialists, JP Kalala who was with Southend last season, Lemar Powell from Bristol Rovers and Aaron Jones from Ipswich. They joined defenders Alex Evans and Ryan Tafazoli and Michael Kamara in a starting line-up which also included Wayne Brown in goal, Sean McGinty at left back, Adam Chapman in midfield and strikers Craddock and Tyrone Marsh.
City included four former United first team regulars, Steve Basham, Chris Willmott, and Jamie Cook as well as youth products Andy Gunn, Michael Alexis, Declan Benjamin and Marvin Martin.
It was Willmott who had the first chance of the game with a falling volley which Jones kicked off the line in the second minute while Craddock’s 8th minute shot and Chapman’s scooped effort a minute later both went just wide as United pressed for the first time.
The game then went quiet as the trialists settled down, with Craddock’s touches and Marsh’s hard running catching the eye for United. The youngsters efforts were rewarded on 37 as he closed down a hesitant Warren Carter in the City goal and the ball broke for Craddock to sidefoot home into the empty net from 15 yards to make it 1-0.
Evans should have made it 2-0 on 47 as he connected well with a corner and forced a save but then smashed the rebound well over from six yards, and sub Callum O’Dowda curled a 65th minute shot just over after more good work from Craddock and Marsh.
Chapman put in a good shift in midfield before being replaced by young left back David Lynn and United made it safe on 77 as Jones was upended in the box and Craddock calmly planted the penalty into the corner of the net for his second of the night.
A good way to end pre-season and now for the serious stuff. Our best wishes to Oxford City in the Blue Square North, but United will go into the season proper in good shape.
Brown, Kamara, Evans, Tafazoli, McGinty, Chapman (Lynn 75), Jones, Kalala, Powell (O’Dowda h/t), Craddock, Marsh