Sam Long plays full game on his return from injury
Oxford United beat Kidderminster Harriers 3-0 in a development game at Court Place Farm this afternoon.
Three first-half goals from Jordan Graham, Josh Ashby and Josh Ruffels sealed the game for United, but Head Coach Michael Appleton, watching from the sidelines, would have been equally pleased to see Sam Long play the full 90 minutes as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury, received against Sheffield Wednesday two months ago.
Long, partnered by Robbie Cundy, was a rock in central defence as the U's coped admirably with everything that Kidderminster threw at them in a second half that saw the visitors make United work hard on the 3G pitch at Oxford City.
In the first half it looked like United might repeat the 10-0 scoreline from the first meeting between the sides earlier this season. After quarter of an hour Graham latched onto an AJ George clearance from a Kidderminster corner. He nodded the ball over the last defender and ran towards goal from the half-way line, calmly beating the Harriers keeper to open the scoring.
On the half hour Oxford doubled their lead when Ashby latched on to a Jonny Giles cross to rifle home from the edge of the area, and two minutes later Ashby turned provider for Ruffels to shoot home left-footed and seal the result. It could have been more shortly before half-time when Giles got behind the visiting defence but his lob over the goalie came back off the crossbar.
United: Slocombe, Welch-Hayes, Long, Cundy, C. Hawtin, George, Ashby, Rose, Ruffels, Giles, Graham (Hastings 85)