Two first half goals from Slavi Spasov, a double from Fabio Lopes as well as goals from Jack Stevens and Callum Crook saw the young U’s continue their fine form in the Youth Alliance League with a 6-1 win over Bristol Rovers this morning.
United set the tempo early on, and where they were made to wait for their opening goal last week against Yeovil Town, it took them less than three minutes to notch the opening goal of the game. Excellent work from Spasov saw the ball played to Stevens who finished well with a low driven shot to give the U’s the advantage.
Six minutes into his return, Spasov grabbed a goal himself as Fabio Lopes squared for the forward to tap home; a deserved reward for nine months of graft behind the scenes for the United youngster and a testament to the Academy medical team and coaching staff who have worked with him over the months.
Two goals the good, a lapse in concentration allowed Bristol Rovers their first chance of the game and they got a goal back with a good finish from the edge of the area. However, the youngsters were in the mood and full of confidence as Spasov saw a header tipped onto the bar, before Tyler Goodrham caused all sorts of problems in the area as he nutmegged a defender before standing it up to the back stick to see it headed behind.
United didn’t have to wait long before their third through Slasov again. A terrific move from the U’s ended with Lopes clipping the ball towards the forward who brought it down well and slotted the ball in for his second of the game to restore the U’s two goal lead before the break.
On came Crook at half time for Spasov in a planned changed, and the forward was on the scoresheet minutes into the second half. Lopes impressed on the wing and sent in a terrific delivery for the striker who finished superbly into the top corner for United’s fourth.
Goodrham caused problems on the wing throughout, and an excellent run on 58’ saw the winger tripped in the area. Up stepped Lopes who confidently tucked his penalty into the bottom corner to further extend the U’s lead. Lopes was on the mark again 20 minutes from time; Leon Chambers-Parillon desperately unlucky as he watched his strike cannon off the post, but Lopes was alert in the area and finished the rebound well to make it six.
In a week that saw Goodrham become the U’s youngest ever player, Nico Jones become the club’s youngest ever captain, seven academy graduates fiishing the U’s first team game at Crawley and Slavi Spasov scoring twice on his return from injury, it was a performance that capped off a fine week for the Oxford United Academy. Up next, Colchester United away in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night.
UNITED: Evans, Gardner, Elechi, Sole (Ferguson, 58), Jones, Barnett-Grant, Goodrham (Edwards, 65), Chambers-Parillon, Spasov (Crook, 45), Stevens, Lopes
Unused Subs: Grant, Brearey