Carroll at the double as United's under-18s start the season with a win
Oxford United’s under 18s kicked off the season with an excellent 4-0 win away at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
Coach Leon Blackmore-Such talked us through the action.
We travelled to the south coast for our first league game, with the boys still on a high after their two-week training camp in Spain. You could see the chemistry and team bonding but they had such a good time that the training in the build up to the Bournemouth game lacked a little bit of intensity at times and we weren’t sure how it would go.
Bournemouth are a passing side who look to keep possession but we started very brightly and pressed them from very early on. This enabled us to play our own game, get on the ball and try and dominate them, leading to a few chances. Malachi Napa had one that the keeper saved well, there were a couple of blocks and dangerous set pieces and we were really pleased with the first 20 minutes.
We took the lead from a set piece that came to Ben Chilcott who struck it really well with his left foot from just outside the box. At 1-0 up we kept going about things the right way and coped with Bournemouth well. Then Joe Hartley went through and was brought down for a penalty, which Canice Carroll scored from to give us a 2-0 lead after about half an hour.
From kick off we let them get a cross in rather than being switched on straight away, which is a learning curve. That allowed Bournemouth to start creeping into the game with a bit more possession in our half, which was what we had previously prevented so well. So at half time we told them to go back to how they had played for the first 30 minutes, and to be fair they did just that.
We got another set piece and Canice headed it in at the back post, and at 3-0 up we were controlling the game well and we had a decent defensive shape. Then Joe Hartley cut inside from the left and did well to score in the bottom corner for a very good finish. Joe has come back from injury and done well and it was good to see him score.
We never looked like conceding after that. We never let Bournemouth back in to the game, but could have saved a lot of unnecessary energy if we’d kept possession in the closing stages, which is another thing to work on for us.
But it was a good start and a good 4-0 win away at a tough place against a Premier League side. We were really pleased with how they boys performed.
Now we go to Bournemouth again in the cup on Tuesday, knowing that they will raise their game and not want to be turned over again, so that should be interesting but hopefully we can get through to the next round.
United: Triallist, Carr, Carroll, Chilcott, Tuttle, Graham (Bryan 60), Baptiste, Heap (Hopkins 70), Hartley, Noel-Williams (Baker 70), Napa