Oxford United under-18s 3-0 down at half timeThe Oxford United under-18 team fought out a thrilling 4-4 draw with their Plymouth Argyle counterparts at Northcourt Road, Abingdon this afternoon.
Trailing 3-0 at half-time, United hit back through two braces from substitute Owen James and Dejon Noel-Williams to lead 4-3 with ten minutes remaining. However, Plymouth mounted a fight back of their own to equalise with five minutes remaining.
The first half was one to forget for the U's, who found themselves a goal down after 18 minutes when Matt Berry-Hargreaves did well to block a goal-bound shot only for the rebound to fall back to the Plymouth striker, who made no mistake second time around.
Six minutes later a Plymouth forward got goalside of Berry-Hargreaves, who clipped his heels to concede a penalty that was duly converted. Then, right on the stroke of half time, the visitors were three goals to the good as they scored an uncontested header from a corner.
Oxford started the second half on the front foot and looked much more lively than Plymouth. However, it wasn't until the 63rd minute that they got their rewards when substitute James and an Argyle defender both attacked the same ball eight yards out, the ball looping off James' knee and over the stranded goalkeeper.
Nine minutes later some good play from the hard-working Shandon Baptiste saw the midfielder send Noel-Williams free. He used his strength to fend off a defender before finishing coolly under the diving goalie. Just two minutes later United were level. Noel-Williams was the architect, taking the ball around the Plymouth keeper close to the byline and pulling it back for James to smash home his second of the afternoon.
United had their tails up and it was no surprise when Baptiste and Noel-Williams combined again with an almost exact replica of the second goal to give Oxford the lead. Unfortunately the visitors were able to get a goal back with five minutes remaining.
There was still time for both sides to create chances to win the game but it ended honours even after a spectacular second half.
United: Agboola, Heap (Carr HT), Carroll, Berry-Hargreaves, Chilcott, Baptiste (Baker 86), McCreadie, Hartley (James 59), Hopkins (Bryan HT), Napa, Noel-Williams