Marsh on the mark as young U's lose out to Southend United
Oxford United's young Development Squad lost out to Southend United this afternoon despite another encouraging performance. A Ty Marsh goal gave United a 1-0 lead at half time but two close-range goals from Southend in the second half, either side of a missed penalty from Jon Meades, gave the visitors a 2-1 win.
The first half ebbed and flowed in the glorious sunshine at the training ground, with United indebted to Max Crocombe for two sharp saves before they took the lead with a well-worked goal after 42 minutes. Callum O’Dowda supplied the pass from the left and Marsh took advantage of the space to turn and strike a low show past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Playing in a 4-5-1 shape United looked solid in defence and were a little unlucky when the hard-working Josh Shama thumped a first-half header over the bar from a clever cross from the industrious Aidan Hawtin, although they were grateful to the alert Sam Long for a couple of well-timed challenges in that opening period.
The second half saw United on the front foot for the first 15 minutes, with Jon Meades imposing himself on the game but Southend pulled level on 56 minutes as a floated free kick was headed back across goal and touched home from very close range, despite Crocombe’s claims that the scorer was offside.
United had an ideal opportunity to regain the lead after 64 minutes as Long surged forward and battled his way through three challenges before being pulled down. Meades struck his penalty well enough but the keeper got down well to his right to save and within a minute United were behind as Southend moved the ball forward quickly and, after a shot was blocked, their striker responded quickest to nod home from eight yards.
United responded positively and had two or three intricate passing moves which just lacked the final pass. The excellent Crocombe made one more good save as time ran out but Southend stayed strong at the other end to secure their win.
Ultimately results are not key at this level, win or lose, and as well as the promising performances from the youngsters there was also the welcome sight of Meades playing his first full 90 minutes since pre-season.
Crocombe, Grant, Long, Lynn, Trialist, Shama, Hawtin, Ashby, Meades, O’Dowda, Marsh