Full time report from Northcourt Road
Oxford United went through to the semi-final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup tonight with a 3-0 win over Ardley at Northcourt Road. A first half goal from James Roberts and second half strikes from Aidan Hawtin and Lewis Hayden saw United through in a well-contested quarter final encounter.
United fielded a young side, mixing their Development Squad with scholars, and were ahead on 17 minutes when a Josh Ashby corner from the right was touched at the near post by the always alert Roberts, the ball going into the net via the heel of unlucky defender Luke Cray. Roberts claimed the goal although there was a distinct suspicion of an own goal.
The young U’s were easy on the eye with Ashby and Hayden seeing plenty of the ball in midfield and one brilliant pass from Ashby on 26 minutes setting up a flowing move which ended with Hawtin testing Ardley keeper Kieran Beesley with a powerful low shot from 15 yards.
AJ George then teed up the excellent Roberts for a shot saved by Beesley on the half hour, and United had dominated the half without creating too many chances.
Ardley were unlucky in the opening stages of the second half, committing more men forward and seeing a header from Bradley Cox well saved by Jack Stevens as they had their best spell. However on 50 minutes it was 2-0 to the U’s when George did well to feed Hawtin who was clinical in his finishing to guide the ball inside the left hand post.
It was 3-0 on 66 with the pick of the goals. Sam Long's excellent long ball was controlled by George who flicked the ball over his own head as well as a covering defender, then raced away and flicked a well-weighted pass through the Ardley defence for Hayden to run on to and drill past Beesley for an excellent team goal.
The U's had further chances with Sam Humphreys and Roberts going close, but they had done enough to make progress. Less dramatic than the previous night, but plenty of encouraging signs from a talented bunch of local young players.
Stevens, Welch-Hayes, C Hawtin, Ashby, Cundy (McCormack 83) , Long, A Hawtin (Carroll 78), Hayden, Roberts (Graham 76), George, Humphreys