Oxford United’s youth team got their season under way with an excellent 3-0 win away at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Goals from Freddie Niblett, Rex Mannings and Albie Hopkins gave the young U’s their first win and coach Leon Blackmore-Such told us:
“We have worked hard in pre-season and that showed because we started really brightly and the patterns and ideas we had worked on were all evident in just the first game. That is very pleasing and we got the ball into good areas, got in behind Cheltenham and exploited the space really well.
We created good opportunities early on; Owen James, Albie, Rex and Ryan Crooks getting into decent positions and also all putting in good crosses and through balls. The first goal came from a corner - we were really happy to see something we had worked hard at pay off again- when from James Cowan’s set piece Freddie got himself into a good position to make it 1-0.
“We kept playing our football, moving it nicely through the thirds and went 2-0 up when Rex was very alert, nicked the ball and slotted home.
“2-0 at half time, we stressed that we wanted to keep doing the same things and not drop off but we had a let-off when one of their forwards rounded keeper Niall Clayton but fired wide when he should really have scored. That was a wake-up call and the lads responded very well. Cheltenham came at us and had another good chance but we went straight up the other end and from an Owen James cross Albie smashed the ball home to make it 3-0.
“We defended well as a team, we created more chances and we can take plenty of positives from the game. One of those was that after the match the lads took charge a little bit and were telling us that although we had won they felt they had a lot more to give and plenty of things to work on. That’s a good sign and we definitely have something to build on after an excellent first performance.”
Clayton, Carr, Niblett, Berry-Hargreaves,Chilcott, Crooks, Heap, Cowan, Hopkins, Mannings, James
Subs: Stevens, McCreedy, Baker, Lofthouse