United go through in a cup classic
Ah, the League Cup. Milk Cup, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola or Capital One, Oxford United love it. Famous wins over Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Leeds United (twice). Winners at Wembley in 1986, and within 12 minutes of kick-off tonight three goals up at Brentford of the Championship. Oxford United rolled back the years tonight to go through 4-0 in the Capital One Cup at Griffin Park amid unbelievable scenes.
Wearing a retro version of that ’86 team’s kit, the U’s roared into the Bees from the start and were ahead inside five minutes. Joe Skarz dinked the ball forward, defender Yoann Barbet slipped and Liam Sercombe was on it in a flash to stride into the box and hammer a low shot beyond keeper Jack Bonham and send the Yellow Army into raptures at the far end of the ground.
As the sun set over West London the drama came to life under the floodlights, with a Brentford side showing 11 changes from the team from Saturday shell-shocked by the tempo and work rate from their visitors. Nine minutes gone and Danny Hylton chased not one but three lost causes in and around the Brentford box. Kemar Roofe nicked the ball through and Hylton harried the keeper once more. The besieged Bonham got to the ball first but thumped his clearance into the boot of Hylton and the ball flew low and true and into the unguarded net to make it 2-0.
The fans were lapping it up and three minutes later were in dreamland as Roofe made it 3-0 with a goal that summed up the unbelievable start. Bonham came beyond the edge of his box and had to head the ball, doing it reasonably well. Or so he thought. His header picked out Roofe who took one touch to chest it down then volleyed it beyond the stranded Bonham from all of 35 yards. A fantastic goal and progress to the second round all but sealed within 12 breathless minutes.
It might have been even more embarrassing for a Brentford side who were in the play-offs to reach the Premier League last season. Ryan Taylor had a shot saved and the non-stop Alex MacDonald fizzed a shot just over the bar. Taylor forced Bonham into a fine save on 25 to tip his volley over the top; United had totally dominated the first half and Sam Slocombe had hardly been tested.
The Bees did improve in the latter stages of that first 45 minutes, although that wasn’t hard, and former United youngster Jermaine Udumaga saw a 20 yard effort on 42 minutes deflected wide of the mark, but a 3-0 lead at the break was fully deserved.
It got better.
On came local lad Callum O’Dowda for the excellent Roofe. 53 minutes gone and O’Dowda, one of 11 local lads in the squad, brings a deep cross from MacDonald down on his instep, jinks inside and rolls the ball square for Johnny Mullins to smash home from ten yards out. 4-0. Game over in front of the adoring Yellow Army. Brilliant.
The Bees had hardly carried a sting all night and had been humbled by the hard-working U's who held them at arms length and saw the game out comfortably. The fans went through their repertoire of songs from the last 30 years, the players worked as hard as possible to keep a clean sheet and the final whistle saw wonderful scenes of celebration with fans, staff and players totally united.
The draw is on Thursday. Can't wait.
Report by Chris Williams, Pictures Darrell Fisher, Stats by Opta
See video reaction and Highlights in Yellow Player HD