Oxford United’s under 18s got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win at Plymouth on Friday. Coach Leon Blackmore Such told us:
“We set off at 6.30am for a 12.30 kick off, and on a Friday rather than a Saturday which obviously meant a slight change to how we did things through the week. After losing the weekend before we had worked hard all week on keeping the ball out of our net and that being our motivation, and we also changed shape to a 4-3-3 with Aaron McCreedy doing the defensive role and doing it really well. It’s a bit of an unsung role but he did a great job for the team, as did Nathan Baker who came in alongside Matt Berry-Hargreaves in defence and they looked very solid.
The game itself had a bit of an edge and there were some strong challenges but that’s good to see and all part of being competitive. It made for a good game and we had a couple of early chances with Aaron Heap having a couple of shots and Owen James having a chance as well. But 0-0 at half time was probably fair and we talked about using the width because Plymouth were playing a diamond shape and we felt we could get our full backs involved more down the sides.
That worked well after the break and we got into better areas although we had to rely on Niall Clayton for one outstanding save to keep it at 0-0. Then Kyran Lofthouse drove forward and slipped the ball for Owen James to run down the side. He got the ball across and Kyran finished off a good move to make it 1-0.
For some reason we started to drop a bit and allow Plymouth space and that’s something we can work on- we don’t want just to defend our own box and invite pressure if we are a goal up. On this occasion it looked as though it was going to cost us because we had defended well but then in the 84th minutes one good set piece when we weren’t quite organised correctly and suddenly we are back to 1-1.
That was frustrating but the boys responded and got themselves going again and in the last minute Niall got the ball forward, Owen competed and allowedJjames Cowan to get the second ball and then Albie Hopkins sent Owen one v one with the keeper and he won it for us with a low shot.
We saw it through and kept the ball in the corners after tha ; performances matter but we want to get that winning habit as well and this was a very good 90 minutes from everyone involved.
Clayton, Carr, Baker, Berry-Hargreaves, Chilcott, Cowan, McCreedy, Heap, Lofthouse (Crooks 70), James, Hopkins
Subs unused: Stevens, Rodger, Lopez