A goal apiece from strike duo Danny Hylton and Kemar Roofe earned Oxford United a well-deserved three points at York City tonight. Leading through Hylton's early goal the U's gifted the Minsterman a lifeline but Roofe's sixth goal of the season gave the Yellows an important win at Bootham Crescent.
United should have been in front inside four minutes as an incisive pass from Callum O’Dowda allowed the overlapping George Baldock to cross low and hard across the six yard box. Rose, arriving at the back post from his left-wing position, met the ball well enough but it somehow flew over the bar off the heel of a desperately back-pedalling defender and over the bar with keeper Scott Flinders floundering.
The Yellows were on top and on ten minutes were ahead with a beautifully crafted goal. The excellent Liam Sercombe took charge on the edge of the area and threaded a wonderfully weighted through ball between two defenders for Hylton to race on to. There was plenty of work to do but Hylton showed huge determination to hold his man off, skip round Flinders and roll the ball home to make it 1-0.
York almost levelled two minutes later when Reece Thompson side-footed wide from ten yards, but otherwise were struggling to find space as United closed them down and defended with typical intensity.
Hylton and Roofe’s pace and movement were giving them all sorts of trouble at the other end and the excellent Sercombe almost scored a second with a low shot on 18 that Flinders only just kept out.
O’Dowda saw a shot blocked on 27 after Roofe had once again opened up the porous York back line on the left, and the constant worry was that the U’s hadn’t turned their supremacy into more goals. Inevitably, York made them pay by drawing level at the break.
There had already been a warning when Wright needed to block bravely in front of one shot and then a header went straight into the arms of Slocombe, but on 37 it was 1-1 when the back line and the keeper were not on the same frequency and somehow left Rhys Turner with the simple task of netting the equaliser.
The home side were much improved in the second half and the game opened up nicely, allowing the U's more space to work in. The dangerous Roofe, looking sharp after his shoulder problem, fired two eye-catching efforts just wide and on 70 forced the keeper into a spectacular save just under the bar to tip his fierce effort over the top. Doh, Stupid Flinders.
The reprieve was but a brief one for the Minstermen. From the resulting corner Mullins barged his way into a shooting position. His goalbound effort cannoned off a defender on the line and obligingly on to Roofe who may not have known too much about his sixth goal of the season but gratefully accepted it in front of the fantastic away fans who had made the long journey.
Ten games gone and eleven goals combined from Hylton and Roofe is an excellent start, but there are plenty of other players contributing to the U's top six position, with Lundstram, Sercombe, Rose and O'Dowda all working their socks off in midfield and the back line atoning for that one blemish with a fully committed performance that frustrated the life out of the home side. New loan signing Jordan Graham added pace on the left for the closing stages, bending one effort just over the top on 85 and setting Hylton free for one last gallop until a last-ditch tackle halted his lung-busting run. Where he, or the rest of this side, find their energy is astonishing.
There was a late flurry from the home side but the U's were not to be denied their win. Three more points on the road and the second month of the season closes with Michael Appleton's side right up there in the leading pack at the top of League 2.
See you in Accrington.
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Darrell Fisher. Stats by OPTA
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