United XI lose final pre-season game
An experimental Oxford United XI lost 4-1 at Dorking tonight in the last pre-season friendly of 2016. United fielded a very unfamiliar line-up that mixed their young pros with a number of the under 16s, with the under 18s away on a training camp in Spain. Against a decent Dorking side they were 3-0 down before George Jeacock gave them consolation ahead of a late fourth for the home side in a good game played in the right spirit.
United gave debuts to right back Scott Isherwood and midfielders Ryan Crooks and Aaron McCreadie- a season ticket holder at the U’s since he was five. The youngsters understandably took time to settle against a Dorking side who finished second in Isthmian League Division One last season, and the home side were in front after 15 minutes when Anthony Oaks found space eight yards out and finished past the returning Benji Buchel.
The Lichtenstein goal keeper had no chance with that or with the second goal on 25 as another cross from United’s right was met by the sliding Rob Cundy under pressure, only for the ball to sneak past the wrong-footed Buchel to make it 2-0.
United then settled down and started to create chances. James Roberts had a 25-yard effort and Sam Long ghosted in at the back stick only to see his effort come back off the post, and Roberts then had another good effort from outside the box saved early in the second half.
However their hosts have had the benefit of playing together for a while and looked a very strong outfit, underlined when Gareth Chenlik took advantage of some hesitant defending to bury a third goal past sub keeper Matthew Crowther, whose first touch was to pick the ball out of his net.
Jeacock pulled one back with a low shot that fizzed into the net off a defender's outstretched leg but United were well beaten when Chris Richardson lobbed the keeper int he last minute to give Dorking a deserved victory.
The second half subs meant that seven of the under 16s had represented the club in a senior game for the first time. Forget the result and see it as tentative first steps to a very bright future.
Pre-season ends. On to the serious stuff. See you against Chesterfield on Saturday...
Buchel (Crowther 55) , Isherwood (Tony-Green 85), Long, Cundy, Welch-Hayes, Crooks (Mortimore 80), McCreadie (H Giles 69), Ashby, J Giles, Jeacock, Roberts