Oxford United’s Under 18s squad continued their strong run of form with a hard fought 2-1 win over an in-form Plymouth Argyle side this morning.
Playing on the 4G surface at Oxford City’s Court Place Farm after a week of heavy rain, the young Yellows started the brighter of the two sides despite missing a number of influential players – Mac Masters, Ben Watt, Gatlin O’Donkor continuing their recovering from injury whilst goalkeeper Eddie Brearey continues to train and travel with the First Team group.
Under 16s full back Ibby Sankoh bought the first chance of the game when his dangerous out-swinging cross just eluded the Oxford front line and midfielder Josh Anifowose went even closer 15 minutes in when his vicious 25-yard half volley crashed against the visitors' crossbar.
Oxford looked to have taken the lead when they appeared to force the ball over the line from another excellent Jack Gardner set piece but did take the lead shortly after when Callum Crook confidently sent the keeper the wrong way to slot home a penalty shortly before the break.
Playing against a strong wind in the second half, Oxford continued to have the better of the game but knew that a Plymouth side on a good winning running themselves would always pose a threat.
Under 16s Enrique Tiamuna and George Franklin both entered proceedings after the break to lend an even more youthful look to an already young side but it was second years Tyler Goodrham and CCrook who combined for the decisive second goal midway through the half when their cleverly worked counter attack enabled the energetic Elijah Coe to slide the ball under the keeper at the end of a flowing Oxford United move.
Will Owens, who along with Goodrham continues to work back from injury, replaced the tiring Adam Smith with 15 minutes to go but it was Plymouth who continued to press and scored late in the game to set up a tightly contested final five minutes. The impressive Tiamuna and Goodrham, driven on by the tireless Jack Gardner in midfield, helped to ensure the Yellows saw the game out professionally to move two points clear at the top of the league with two games to go.
Chris Hackett and Pablo Haysham’s side face a quick turn around with games against Yeovil and Newport to come this week as they continue to develop both collectively and individually – another test passed today with plenty of hard work still ahead.
Squad: Plumley, Sankoh, Nosakhare, Golding, Johnson, Gardner, Anifowose, Coe, Smith, Crook, Goodrham, Marriott, Franklin, Tiamuna, Richardson, Trialist, Owens.
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