Full-time report as United lose to Wolves in pre-season
United's pre-season preparations continued with a 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves this evening. A well-taken goal from Leon Clarke divided the two sides in an even game full of clever movement and passing.
In their brand new Isinglass white and purple away kit, against the famous Old Gold and Black of newly promoted Wolves, the U's stuck to the familiar 4-2-3-1 shape that has marked every game under Michael Appleton so far.
Keeper George Long made his first start behind fellow debutant Joe Riley, playing alongside Michael Raynes, Johnny Mullins and Tom Newey in a defence shielded by midfield pair Josh Ruffels and Michael Collins. In front of them local lads Callum O'Dowda and Sam Humphreys began with Danny Rose just behind front man Danny Hylton.
A Rose free kick on 11 caused a few anxious moments for Kenny Jackett's side and the midfielder then drew the first save of the night on 18 with a right-footed effort which visiting keeper Aaron McCarey beat away.
Mullins hobbled off with what looked like a twisted ankle after 27 minutes, to be replaced as centre-half and captain by Jake Wright but United were still adjusting to the switch a minute later when Clarke raced clear and fired a shot beyond Long to make it 1-0 with the game's decisive moment.
The elusive running of O'Dowda produced an opening on 39 as he dragged the ball past two defenders and fired in a right-footed effort that bounced off the chest of McCarey and the first half had been fairly even. Long had looked assured in his handling and confident in the air, while Hylton had worked tirelessly up top for a composed looking United side.
Long made a stunning save on 53, flying to his right to push a well-struck shot to safety as it arrowed towards the top corner, but much of the second half was about possession as the two teams looked to keep the ball. It was good to see United match their higher-league opponents in passing the ball neatly around on the slick-looking playing surface, and there were plenty of positives to take away from another good work out.
United are building nicely towards the opening day at home to Burton and have one more game to go through the gears when they welcome AFC Bournemouth to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday. Tickets are once again just £10 if bought in advance. Call 01865 337533 or visit www.oufctickets.co.uk to join us
G Long, Newey (Grant 87), Raynes, Mullins (Wright 28), Rose, Hylton (Roberts 74), Ruffels, O'Dowda (Shama 80), Collins, Riley (Hunt 74), Humphreys (Meades 74)
Subs: Crocombe, Bevans, S Long, Shama, Ashby, Hawtin, Grant
Att: 2,727 away: 736
Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Steve Daniels
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