Long and Shama get the goals as Development Side win
Andy Whing and Ryan Clarke both came through their first games back from injury with flying colours today as United beat Southend 2-1 in a friendly at the Oxford Sport and Social Ground. First half goals from Sam Long and Josh Shama gave an impressive U's development side a win after conceding an early opener.
Clarke looked assured and confident in goal after recovering from surgery on a long-term foot injury, while Whing crunched into a trademark tackle within 30 seconds of his return and did well throughout his first 60 minutes back. The pair were joined by David Hunt and Jon Meades in a strong United side full of highly promising youngsters. Even so they fell behind in the 13th minute as a Southend forward rounded the helpless Clarke and tapped home to give the visitors the lead. However, United were back on level terms five minutes later when the impressive Josh Ashby skipped past two challenges on the left and sent in a low cross for Long to fire home at the near post.
United had further chances, James Roberts and Aidan Hawtin both going close, before a short corner routine gave Sam Humphreys the chance to feed Ashby again for a cross which Shama rose well to head home off the underside of the crossbar. Humphreys then cut inside from the left and curled a great effort just past the far post before two headers from Hawtin went close and underlined the Yellows’ dominance in the first half.
The ever-dangerous Roberts forced the visiting keeper in to a great save on 53 as he flew to his left to push a goalbound effort round the post, then the striker stabbed an effort over the bar on the hour. The last half hour saw an open game go end to end but a magnificent save from Clarke on 89, somehow reaching a shot that was arrowing into the top left corner, preserved United's lead and gave them a deserved win.
Clarke, Hunt, Long, F. Grant, Meades, Whing (Hayden 62), Ashby, Hawtin (Welch-Hayes 75), Shama (George 67), Humphreys, Roberts.