Youngsters earn all three points
Oxford United’s under 18s enjoyed a fine 3-2 win at Exeter City at the weekend. Goals from Jordan Graham, George Jeacock and Malachi Napa earned the youth team an excellent win and coach Leon Blackmore-Such told us:
“It was a 12 o’clock kick off so we had to leave at 6.30am but the boys were lively on the way down and that was a good sign because we started the game very well. Exeter like to play the ball out and we set up well to counter that and press them. They did the same to us which made it hard for midfielders on both sides to get on the ball. Both sides had clear chances in the first half; Jack Stevens made two good saves to keep us in it but equally their keeper has made good saves from Seth Humphries and Luke Hastings so 0-0 at half time was probably fair.
We had got into really good areas but hadn’t taken advantage so the message at half time was to keep playing as we had been doing and don’t give away any stupid goals at the other end because it was such a close game.
We went out in the second half should have taken the lead with a good move. Jack started it by passing to the right wing, then it got played into midfield and we set George Jeacock in behind. He crossed and we then had three chances to score. The first one the keeper saved, then we hit the post then the keeper saved the rebound. And to make it worse the ball went up the other end and they scored! Canice Carroll conceded a penalty but we can learn from that and the boys came straight back into it.
We had been on top in that half and we bounced back right away. Drew Ricketts, playing at right back, sent in a long throw to Jordan Graham who pinned his man then slotted the ball home for 1-1. The front four all looked lively and the second goal came from the left when George span past his centre half to turn it into a foot race. You’re not going to beat George in a race and he slotted it away to make it 2-1.
The shout was not to do anything stupid again, and 45 seconds later we give the ball away on the edge of our box, the ball was played down the side of us and we are 2-2 a minute after going in front!
Again, we showed character and we were still on top but it took until about six minutes from the end before we got the winner. George again did well, got the ball into the box and Malachi Napa put it in to give us a 3-2 win.
There were still ten minutes, with the injury time, but we managed the game well, much better than the first couple of games, and deserved the win.”
Stevens, Ricketts, Carroll, McCormack, C. Hawtin, Hayden, Humphries, Hastings (Bryan), Baptiste (Napa), Graham (Tuttle), Jeacock.