Oxford United U19s suffered a 4-1 defeat to rivals Swindon Town in the Youth Alliance League this afternoon.
The visitors put three past the U's in the first half, before Abu Kanu finished off his hat-trick just after half time. Max Smith then headed in a consolation goal for the young U's.
As expected, it was a tense game from the start, made harder for the U’s when Fletcher Hubbard, who was sent off here last year, cut inside and bent the ball into the top left corner leaving Monty Marriott with no chance in the fifth minute.
The young U’s had to dig in, and almost found a quick leveller when Aaron Lacey flicked Richard McIntyre’s superb corner just wide of the right-hand post.
Following that however, Oxford struggled to maintain possession, and had Marriott to thank for an important reflex save and some brave claims to keep it at 1-0.
Halfway into the first 45, the U’s started to create some meaningful chances. Harrison Bradney did excellently to drive into the box, beating three men, before laying the ball off to Zaide Took-Oxley whose low strike was blocked well by the feet of Redman Evans in the Swindon net.
Evans then made another miraculous save to deny Kasway Burton on the break, but it was Swindon who went down the other end and got the next goal, Kanu tapping home from close range to double the Robins’ advantage.
It got worse on the stroke of half time, when Calum Doyle fouled Kanu in the box, and he added a third on the rebound after Marriott saved his spot kick. A tough first half and work to do at the break.
Louis Griffiths, fresh from representing Wales U17s in the Syrenka Cup in Poland, replaced Doyle at the break, but any chance of a United comeback was flattened early on when Kanu scored his hat-trick from the edge of the box in the 50th minute.
Leo Snowden replaced Davis-Stephenson, who got 60 minutes in his legs after starting his first competitive game having recovered from a knee injury that saw him miss all of last season.
United were better in the second 45 and pulled one back when Max Smith ghosted in behind from Bradney’s free kick and headed home a consolation just after the hour mark.
Burton had two late chances saved and in the end it was a tough day at the office, but motivation to be better as a group as the season develops.
LINEUP: Marriott, Maxwell, Smith, Lacey, McIntyre, Doyle (Griffiths 45’), Took-Oxley, Brenan, Davis-Stephenson (Snowden 57’), Burton, Bradney