U's end the season with Senior Cup victory
Oxford United's season closed with victory in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup as James Roberts bagged four goals in a 6-1 win over Oxford City tonight. The striker's four goals plus two from youngster George Jeacock sealed a fine win for the U's in an entertaining game against their Conference South opponents.
Jonny Giles had already gone close before a flick from Jordan Graham in the 13th minute allowed Roberts to run clear of the City defence for his first. Keeper Craig Hill saved his first effort but Roberts is rarely flustered and collected the rebound, checked inside to send a covering defender sliding beyond the goal, then calmly rolled the ball home for the opener.
City stormed back in a thoroughly enjoyable first half and Matty Whichelowe got round keeper Jack Stevens but couldn’t force the ball past Freddy Grant on the line before Bradley Bubb found space but could only lob into keeper Stevens’ arms from the edge of the box.
More goals were always likely and Roberts, a scorer last time the teams met in the final of 2013, was only denied by a fine tackle by David King on 32 minutes before Jeacock had a good strike well saved by Hill a minute later.
However, City were giving as good as they got and it took a good save from Stevens to touch a Reece Fleet piledriver over the bar on 35 before Jeacock scored the second.
Top scorer for the youth team and already offered his first pro contract, Jeacock is a fast and direct forward who is equally at home up front or on the wing, and on 37 minutes he underlined his potential by powering away down the left and then finishing well beyond Hill to give his side a 2-0 lead.
Credit to City, who were neither fazed nor finished and on the stroke of half time made it 2-1 when a low cross from the right was forced home at the near post by former United youngster Conor McDonagh.
It continued to be open end-to-end football in the second period, Roberts firing over on 47 and then scoring a magnificent third goal for the U’s on 52 minutes. Josh Ashby started it with a cross field pass to Jonny Giles. He waited for the marauding Miles Welch-Hayes, another to be offered a pro deal, who stormed forward from right back and then flicked the ball through for Roberts. King charged out at him but Roberts was far too sharp and somehow managed to chip the ball up and over the stranded keeper from 12 yards for a superb finish.
Was it the goal of the match though? On 63 Jeacock rivalled it as he made it 4-1 with his second of the night. Again coming in at speed down the left this time he curled the ball across Hill and in off the base of the far post for another excellently taken goal.
The pair were proving too quick of thought and movement for a young City defence and on 70 minutes Roberts underlined that with a clinical goal to complete his hat-trick. Jeacock again paved the way down the left, reaching the by-line and pulling it back for Roberts who thundered home from six yard to make it 5-1.
Shandon Baptiste, excellent alongside the outstanding Ashby in midfield, had an effort cleared off the line before Roberts completed the scoring with another clinical finish, blasting home left-footed in the 88th minute to make it 6-1 and end his own season on a real high.
A good win and Young Player of the Year Robbie Cundy was left to lift the trophy to bring the curtain down on a superb season for the whole club.
See you next season.
Stevens, Welch-Hayes, Hawtin, Ashby, Cundy, Grant, Jeacock (Napa 83), Baptiste, Graham (Bryan 46), Roberts, Giles