United smash seven past Newport County
Oxford United’s youth team started their Merit League 2 campaign in spectacular style as they put seven goals past ten-man Newport County, who were left shell-shocked following a clinical second-half display by the U’s.
The game started with United on top but unable to work the Newport goalkeeper. It took until the 17th minute before the U’s could force an opening. Good work from George Jeacock won Oxford a corner on the right which Jordan Graham flighted to the far post. Miles Welch-Hayes rose highest and powered his header into the ground, the bounce lifting the ball into the roof of the net.
The remainder of the first period was a fairly scrappy affair, with the visitors carving out a few opportunities but without forcing Jack Stevens into any saves, while at the other end tame long-distance efforts from Graham and Seth Humphries were all Oxford had to show for their endeavours.
It took just five minutes of the second half for Oxford to double their lead. Luke Hastings powered in a shot that the Newport keeper saved well, but the ball span into the air and Graham, showing a true poacher’s instinct, ran in to head the ball home from virtually on the goal line. Seven minutes later Graham made it 3-0 as Jeacock and Hastings combined to pull the ball back to the winger, waiting on the edge of the area.
Substitute Graham Bryan increased the scoreline in the 67th minute with possibly the best goal of the game. Jeacock skipped past a couple of challenges on the left wing and drove along the byline into the penalty area. He pulled the ball back for Bryan, on the penalty spot, and he slid the ball past the stranded keeper. Newport’s frustration bubbled over at this point and two minutes later one of their central midfielders lunged into a two-footed challenge on Humphries, earning himself a second yellow card.
The game was now played totally in the Newport half, with Stevens a spectator. It was 5-0 in the 82nd minute as Bryan’s cross was deflected to Jeacock, who gleefully hammered the ball home from the edge of the area. In the final minute Humphries scored a brilliant individual goal, sidefooting the ball past the keeper from all of 30 yards and the scoring was completed in the second minute of stoppage time as substitute Joe Hartley worked himself an opening to smash the ball home from an acute angle after good work by Graham.
“The first half was scrappy,” said happy coach Leon Blackmore-Such afterwards. “We didn’t lay into them at half-time, just told them to relax on the ball and show a bit more quality. To be fair to them, they listened and took what we said on board. I was also pleased that the substitutes did so well, as we told them to make sure they made a difference if they got on.”
United: Stevens, Diaz-Benitez, Carroll, McCormack, Welch-Hayes, Hastings, Humphries, Baptiste (Hayden 40), Graham, Jeacock (Hartley 80), Noel-Williams (Bryan 57)