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Youth Rampant

30 September 2013

United's under-18s beat Swindon 7-1

United's under-18s continued their impressive recent form with a 7-1 thumping of local rivals Swindon Town in the League Cup. James Roberts scored four times, while Jamie Calvin, Sam Humphreys and Aidan Hawtin also found the net. It was Oxford's third consecutive victory after recent wins over Exeter and Newport and their second this season over Swindon, following a 3-2 win on the opening day of the season.

This match, however, was a little more one-sided than their previous meeting and United took control of the game from the first whistle. Roberts netted the first of four goals after just three minutes, escaping his marker to head in a deep, floated cross to open the scoring.

After five minutes Roberts and United had a second when the Swindon defence were caught out by a beautifully weighted through ball from Freddie Grant, allowing Roberts to glide through and deftly tap the ball over the helpless keeper.

The U's were looking imperious, as they dominated possession and camped in Swindon's half. Calvin added a third after Humphries had beaten his man to cut back from the by-line. The Swindon defence failed to take the opportunity to clear and the ball fell to Calvin who prodded in from close range. And he could have bagged a second just moments later after working space for himself on the edge of the area, but his shot flashed across the face of goal and wide of the left-hand post.

Swindon pulled a goal back just after the half-hour mark when an inswinging corner evaded everyone to fly into the corner of the net and for a brief period they threatened to get themselves back into the match. Goalkeeper Barney Martin was twice called upon to produce some acrobatic saves in order to preserve the two-goal cushion, including one sprawling dive to keep out a wayward clearance from Alfie Grant after a spell of Swindon pressure.

But it was Roberts who would have the final say of the half, punishing the visitors as they pushed forward in search of a second. Roberts pounced on a long clearance, pinching the ball from the foot of a hesitant defender before sprinting the length of the pitch and lobbing the goalkeeper to seal an impressive first-half hat-trick.

Swindon regrouped during the interval and looked a much tighter unit after the break, but United had hit their stride and continued to probe, with substitute Aidan Hawtin looking particularly dangerous. He latched onto an excellent defence-splitting pass shortly after being introduced to the fray but was unable to hit the target when one-on-one with the keeper. 

Roberts showed the way by hitting his fourth of the match following some patient build-up play around the edge of the box. United's impressive passing eventually opened a gap in the Swindon ranks and when the ball fell to Roberts he coolly picked his spot and drilled into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.

Hawtin was denied twice more by the offside flag, and it looked like it wasn't going to be his day when first a header and then a well-placed volley were ruled out. But he did finally get the goal he'd been threatening as he netted United's seventh, beating the offside trap to meet Sam Humphreys' through-ball and slotting it past the keeper.

That came moments after Humphreys himself had added a sixth after United had stretched a now-exhausted defence with another impressive team move. Humphreys, having now been moved to the right flank as an inverted winger, arrived at the back post to tap in from close range.

Next in the firing line for the youth team are Cheltenham Town, as United resume their league campaign with a short trip across the Cotswolds.

Team: B Martin, Clarke, F Grant, Ashby, A Grant, McCormack, D Martin, George, Roberts, Calvin, Humphries

Subs: Hawtin, Hackett, Conte, Welch-Hayes, Hayden

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