Jordan Graham scores twice as Oxford win 3-0
Newport County 0
Oxford United 3
After a run of defeats, Oxford United’s under-18s turned things around with a comfortable victory at Newport County on Saturday morning, despite the U’s featuring a number of younger players and triallists.
In difficult conditions, it was a game of few clear-cut chances and it was Oxford who proved more clinical. The U’s found themselves playing into a strong wind in the first period. While Newport were unable to take advantage, it did mean they were able to peg United back for large periods and the Oxford defence, ably martialled by Cian McCormack and Canice Carroll, had to be at full concentration to keep the home side at bay.
Indeed, it was Oxford who took the lead in the first half through Jordan Graham. Graham was back defending a Newport set piece, which he headed clear. The ball fell for John Dennis who broke away. With Graham making a lung-bursting run from his own penalty area, he arrived in time to get on the end of Dennis’s pass in the Newport box to shoot home.
In the second half United took full advantage of the wind at their backs to put the game beyond their Welsh hosts. Graham scored his second when he arrived at the near post to tap home a low cross from a triallist, and United completed the scoring through one of the players on trial.
Under-18s coach Leon Blackmore-Such told us: “The conditions made for a difficult game and the lads had to really battle, and it was pleasing to see that they were up for it. The boys showed good character to compete and willingness to win in the poor conditions.
“It was also pleasing to see a number of younger boys get their chance and do well, such as Joe Hartley and John Dennis. Even under-15 player Aaron Heap, who won the John Durham Memorial Award for best young player recently, got a 10-minute run out at the end, having trained with us all week.”
United: Stevens, Diaz-Benitez, Carroll, McCormack, Tuttle, Hartley, Triallist, George, Triallist, Dennis (Heap), Graham