Spot kick drama sees young guns win a thriller
Oxford United’s Under 18 side enjoyed another excellent win this afternoon as they beat Portsmouth in a penalty shoot-out in the Football League Youth Alliance League Cup.
The U’s were in front after just seven minutes with a well-constructed opener when the elusive George Jeacock raced to the bye-line and cut the ball back for left-winger Graham Bryan to sidefoot powerfully home from near the penalty spot
The Yellows then had almost all of the first half and could easily have doubled their lead as they dominated from a strong midfield base where Lewis Hayden and Seth Humphries were both very impressive. Hayden got forward well but couldn’t get his shot away under pressure on 28 while right-back Kieran Diaz-Benitez saw a cross-shot clip the top of the crossbar as the U’s pressed.
Jeacock and Bryan both had chances at the back post but couldn’t convert and having failed to take advantage of their first half dominance the U’s were made to pay on 53 when Portsmouth forced a corner and, after the danger seemed to be cleared, a volley was smashed back in, blocked, but forced home from six yards out.
Pompey had improved hugely and started to force United back for the first time with keeper Manni Agboola saving well at the feet of Portsmouth striker Harley Bradbury, son of former U’s striker Lee. A well struck shot flew just over the top soon after but then United came back strongly again and saw a Luke Hastings effort go close before two excellent chances came their way when first sub Joe Hartley and then Jeacock ended great passing moves with one on one chances with the keeper that they couldn’t quite force home.
1-1 at full time, the game moved on to penalties. Hayden, Canice Carroll and Hastings all scored, and with Agboola saving two Pompey spot kicks it was left to Bryan to stroke home the winning penalty at the end of a very entertaining game of football
Agboola, Diaz-Benitez, Carroll, McCormack, C Hawtin, Hastings, Hayden, Humphries, Bryan, Napa (Hartley 72), Jeacock
Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Terry Winter