U's steam past the Railwaymen
Oxford United started their pre-season with a fine 5-0 win as they steamed past the Railwaymen at Didcot Town this afternoon. Two goals in the first half from Kemar Roofe and a second-half brace from Danny Hylton plus a goal from Josh Ashby gave the U's a convincing win in the sun at Loop Meadow.
Fielding different line-ups in each half, United had the first clear opportunity after ten minutes when James Roberts, playing alongside Patrick Hoban, raced on to an Alex MacDonald through ball but lobbed wide with keeper Leigh Bedwell stranded. There were first-half debuts for Sam Slocombe and Liam Sercombe plus first-year pro Freddie Grant but it was the familiar sight of Johnny Mullins attacking a Danny Rose free kick on 22 minutes that almost brought the breakthrough with the defender’s header thumping against the post.
Roofe saw an ambitious effort from the centre circle drift wide on 24 minutes but then was considerably closer for the opening goal as he calmly despatched the ball from six yards out after a cross from the right by the impressive Aidan Hawtin.
That was a simple finish but his second was far more impressive after 34 minutes, as he danced his way clear of two challenges inside the box to open up the goal and roll home, after MacDonald had forced United into the danger area.
There might have been more before half time – Rose firing wide and sub AJ George making a good impression with a powerful shot pushed round the post by Bedwell after 40.
Having changed all of the outfield players at the interval it took just five minutes for the new team to strike when Taylor’s clever flick sent strike-partner Hylton clear and he hammered across goal to find the corner of the net and make it 3-0.
Hylton sent two further efforts close to the goal, Michael Collins curled a 20-yard shot just wide of the right-hand post, and Hylton then capped a very encouraging performance with another good finish after a superb first touch from Ashby had opened up the home defence once more. The teenage midfielder then put the seal on the afternoon with a clinical strike from just inside the box on 88 minutes after Callum O'Dowda's run and Taylor's hold up had paved the way.
Results don't matter at this stage but this was a chance for everyone on the squad to get time on the pitch and for the Oxford fans to get a first glimpse of the new-look U's. They can't help to have been impressed.
Oxford United first half: Slocombe, Hawtin, Mullins, Wright, Grant, Roofe, Sercombe, Rose, MacDonald, Hoban, Roberts (George 35)
Second half: Slocombe, Baldock, Dunkley, Long (Cundy 78), Skarz, Humphreys (Ashby 78), Collins, Ruffels, O'Dowda, Taylor, Hylton