600 fans follow the U's to Spain
Oxford United won their first game in Spain 2-0 tonight, beating Alhaurin de la Torre through goals from two of their home grown players, Josh Ashby and James Roberts.
It wasn’t about the game really though. To take 600 fans to an away game is one thing, to take that number to a pre-season friendly in southern Spain is, basically, insane. And yet there they were, braving the heat to hang banners and prepare a fantastic welcome for their new look team; fans and players alike sporting the brand new home kit.
On a well-watered artificial pitch and in the hottest weather imaginable, United gave their young guns and new boys a chance to shine at first. Simon Eastwood marshalled a back line of Sam Long, Curtis Nelson, Chey Dunkley and Miles Welch-Hayes, with Dan Crowley, Ashby and Josh Ruffels and Jonny Giles in midfield and Roberts and George Jeacock up front.
The U’s grew into the game and after Jeacock had gone close with two early efforts they started to impose their own rhythm on the Spanish fourth division side. Crowley once again showed excellent technique in supporting the front two while Ashby and Ruffels found their range and teamed up well in midfield.
New signings Chris Maguire and Joe Rothwell flew in too late to play but arrived five minutes into the game and will have been impressed by Ashby’s opener. The youngster is always a threat around the edge of the box and made it 1-0 with a low effort from just outside the box that flew into the bottom left corner.
The starting eleven lasted until around the hour mark before wholesale changes- expect to see the reverse changes made in Friday’s second tour game.
However it was one of the few players to stay on who scored the second as Roberts scored a typical poacher’s goal, nipping in behind the defence and stabbing the ball home as the keeper went to ground.
Football-wise, that's two good pre-season games. Support-wise it was even more impressive. Credit to every single one of the Yellow Army on tour. See you on Friday
Eastwood (Stevens 59), Long (Ribeiro 59), Dunkley (Cundy 59), Nelson (Skarz 59), Welch-Hayes, Crowley (MacDonald 55), Ashby, Ruffels (Taylor 62), Giles (Lundstram 62), Jeacock, Roberts