Under-18s go down 2-1 at home to GullsOxford United's under-18 side were beaten 2-1 by Torquay United at the Rover Sports Ground in Merit League 2 this afternoon. A penalty in each half for the visitors did the damage, with United's response a Robbie Cundy header right at the death.
United were slow to get going and on the quarter-hour mark were indebted to goalkeeper Jack Stevens for an excellent one-handed save from a whipped-in free kick, pushing the ball up onto the bar and out for a corner.
However, the respite didn't last long as just three minutes later Kieran Diaz-Benitez bundled over a visiting striker and Torquay took the lead from the resulting spot kick. Stevens had to be alert a few minutes later, diving to his right to push a speculative shot round the post, before Oxford settled down and began to impose themselves.
Miles Welch-Hayes twice went close for United with headers from corners, one from each side, but the Torquay defence held firm and midway through the second half they doubled their lead with a second penalty, this one awarded for handball.
Torquay were able to keep United at bay for the remainder of the game until, deep into the four added minutes, a free kick was swung over and Cundy rose highest to head home a consolation goal.
After the game, coach Chris Allen was unable to hide his disappointment, telling us: "The boys are capable of doing much better in a game that we could have won. We had a lot of possession but it's the story of our season that we were unable to convert it into goals.
"We need to show a lot more character out there and make better decisions in possession.
"Robbie Cundy played well, leading from the back and getting his head on everything, and Miles Welch-Hayes stood out although he needs to learn to reduce the number of touches he takes. Jack Stevens commanded his box well and caught everything, so there were positives to take away."
The U's conclude their season with a home game against Bristol Rovers on Saturday (11am). Admission is free.
United: Stevens, Welch-Hayes, Cundy, McCormack Tuttle (Hawtin 70), Diaz-Benitez (Bateman 72), George, Dennis, Hartley, Jeacock, Graham