Under 18's go top of the league
Saturday 12th March 2016
Cambridge United 1
Oxford United 4
(Hayden, Noel-Williams, Carroll, Ricketts)
United’s under 18s moved to the top of the Merit League after a convincing 4-1 win over Cambridge on Saturday.
Coach Leon Blackmore-Such told us:
“After a good 3-0 win over Dagenham on Tuesday we wanted to keep things going against Cambridge who we had watched and knew were a very bright team. We watched them against Swindon and Peterborough and they won both of the games so we were ready for a tough 90 minutes and had a game plan which we stuck to really well.
“We defended strongly, we exploited the wide areas where Jordan Graham beat his man a lot and Joe Hartley got crosses in from the other side. We also found pockets of space in good areas and that allowed us to dominate much of the game. Cambridge were quite direct but Canice Carroll, Cian McCormack, Drew Ricketts and Kieran Diaz-Benitez dealt with that really well. In goal Jack Stevens dealt with a lot of crosses and balls into the box and had a very strong game.
“We took the lead with a training ground set-piece from which Lewis Hayden scored with a header. We deserved to be a goal up and then the game carried on in a similar fashion. A little bit more quality in the final third would have seen us kill the game very early. Seth Humphries did well and Shandon Baptiste hit the post, Dejon Noel-Williams had some great chances down the side of the defence and we forced the keeper into good saves.
“But you are always vulnerable if you don’t take your chances and it was 1-1 after a long ball in. Canice made a great block but it ran to their lad who smashed it in for the equaliser. It was a setback but all we said was to keep doing what we had been doing because we were playing well.
“Then Canice picked up the ball and sent Dejon on a run down the side, and as the keeper came out he slotted it past him for a good finish to give us a 2-1 lead.
“We came out in the second half and just asked for the same attitude and application, which we got from everyone. Another set piece reached Drew at the far post. His header was cleared off the line but only as far as Canice who scored to make it 3-1. He has been getting a few goals recently.
“Cambridge raised the tempo and tried to get a bit more physical but we stood up to that and it was a good experience to keep our discipline through that period of the game. Then the ball fell in the box and Drew smashed it in, sending it flying past the keeper for 4-1.
“We defended really well. Being picky we would have liked a bit more possession while we were managing the game; we did well but can we be even better in possession?
“ But having said that, we had control of much of the game and it was a really good performance.”
Stevens, Ricketts, Carroll, McCormack, Diaz-Benitez, Hayden, Humphries (L Graham 80), Baptiste, J Graham (Bryan 75), Noel-Williams, Hartley (Hastings 60)