Oxford United’s Under 18s continued their excellent start to the season with an impressive 3-1 win at Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
An own goal and strikes from Callum Crook and under 16s striker Gatliin O’Donkor meant that the young U’s came back from the West Country with three more points in the EFL Youth Alliance as Coach Leon Blackmore-Such told us:
“We have had Exeter, Portsmouth and Plymouth away and it’s Yeovil away next weekend so plenty of early starts- we left the training ground about half six on Saturday morning but that’s all part of the fun and the learning curve and there are positives as well with the long journeys because you are on the coach, socially distanced, and get a bit of time together; even Plymouth’s Manager commented on the way the lads conducted themselves and how professional they were even in the warm up, which was good.
It was a new venue and the pitch and conditions weren’t easy. We want to stick to our style but you do have to learn from every game and sometimes just make right decisions according to the conditions. But you get judged on moments like that; it’s not all about ability it’s also about motivation and will to win.
I couldn’t fault the attitude, application and desire from any of them. Perhaps the journey did take a little out of us in the first few minutes but we coped very well and took the lead when Tyler Goodrham delivered a nice free kick and one of their lads got a touch on it to take it past his own keeper.
You need to have a bit of luck sometimes and we built from that. James Golding and Sam Johnson were outstanding at the back and we were solid in front of that. Eddie Brearey in goal deserves a lot of credit too because we have been scoring goals and playing attacking football but he has been outstanding in goal all season for us.
Our second goal came when Sam and Tyler combined, Callum Crook played it through and Sam was brought down in the box. Sam is very athletic at left back and has license to get forward like that. Callum put the penalty away and we were 2-0 up at the break.
We knew they would come back at us but we were solid, had a good shape and pressed well. We have pace from Will Owens and Adam Smith on the counter and Jack Gardner has an energy in midfield. Plymouth had a penalty which Eddie saved and then we made it 3-0 wen Gatlin O’Donkor came on, moved on to a knock down from Will and put it in the bottom corner to give us a bit more of a cushion.
We used all our subs because we have a big FA Youth Cup game on Wednesday and maybe the impetus changed a little bit: they got one back from an error on our part but it was solid and professional.
Now we move on to the FA Youth Cup at Thame United on Wednesday against AFC Wimbledon. That’s a competition we all love and we want the boys to do well in so it’s a night we are all looking forward to.”
Brearey, Watt (Grant), Nosokhare, Golding, Johnson, Masters (Anifowose), Gardner, Goodrham (Coe), Smith (Tiamuna), Crook (O’Donkor), Woens