Goals from Kemar Roofe and Danny Hylton ensured that Oxford United ended their home games with an emphatic 2-0 win over Cambridge United at the Kassam Stadum this afternoon. Two goals in the first half sealed the three points in a game that the U's dominated from start to finish.
Hylton, fresh from receiving the Supporters' Player of the Year award, almost celebrated with a goal in the first five minutes as he latched on to a poor back header from Josh Coulson but couldn't squeeze the ball home from the tightest of angles. That was the closest we came to a goal in the opening 25 minutes but it wasn't for the lack of trying, with both sides knocking the ball around neatly on a sunny afternoon.
Sullay Kaikai saw a decent effort bravely blocked by United skipper Johnny Mullins, back in the side in place of Jake Wright who was not risked due to a slight abdomen strain, but on the half hour it was Roofe who forced the breakthrough. The on-loan West Brom forward jinked past a man and fed Hylton who held the ball well and slipped it back to Roofe. Full of confidence, Roofe touched it to his right and then lashed a wicked curling effort across keeper Will Norris and into the far corner for his fifth goal of a very impressive loan spell.
There was a long delay soon after as Mullins collided with Cambridge striker Tom Elliott and was stretchered off, to be replaced by Andy Whing, leading to seven minutes of added time, which United used to double their lead. They might have got it slightly earlier, with Danny Rose almost scoring with a diving header in the fifth minute of the seven and a Dunkley header kicked off the line in the seventh, but from the resulting corner the excellent Rose sent in the perfect delivery and Hylton beat Dunkley to the ball to head home for his 16th goal of a mighty fine first season with the club.
Alex MacDonald had two decent chances to make it 3-0 early in the second half as he ghosted in at the far post and saw two low shots beaten away by covering defenders – the second suspiciously close to the goal-line. He then crashed a great effort against the post from the edge of the box on 71 after a spell where the real U's had totally dominated the visiting ones. There were backheels, feints and dummies from the men in yellow, clearly enjoying their afternoon, while the boys in light blue expressed only mild interest in closing them down or testing Jamie Ashdown, who went the whole afternoon largely untested.
That is slightly unfair on the commitment of Whing and the excellent Chey Dunkley at the back for the U's, with the pair determined to add another clean sheet to a U's side that has finished the season superbly. Sub Kyle Vassell should have wrapped it up in the last minute as he ran clear but couldn't beat Norris, but by then it didn't matter.
That elusive quality of consistency may have arrived a little late in the season but United have looked a cohesive, disciplined side for the last two months and will be cursing the fact that the season ends next week at Newport. With a little more time who knows what might have happened...
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Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Steve Daniels, Stats by OPTA
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