Youth team start 2017 in great style
Football League Youth Alliance
South West Division
Oxford United 7
(Carr 2, Napa 2, Hartley 2, Graham)
United’s under 18 side started the new year in fine style with a comprehensive 7-1 win over Yeovil on Saturday.
Leon Blackmore Such who coaches the side alongside Andy Whing told us:
“It was our first game of 2017 and the lads had been home for Christmas and only back in on the Tuesday. So we had four days to prep and get them going again after eight days off. We have had some tough games against Yeovil who work hard and we have sometimes found it difficult to get our rhythm going against them in past games. So we had done a lot of work on where we could create space and which areas to get into.
“With a very particular game plan it was important we stuck to it, and it was a good learning curve not to panic after we conceded an early goal when a cross came in and one of our lads, trying to head it out for a corner, put it into our goal instead! That might have made us change things but instead, encouragingly, we kept to what we were trying to do. Nobody’s heads went down, even when Malachi Napa missed a penalty as well!
“We moved the ball well, got crosses in from dangerous areas and five minutes before half time got back to 1-1. Joe Hartley slipped Dan Carr in and when he shot Joe was there to tap in the rebound. He has been scoring goals and getting more central recently and did well.
“We asked the lads to be a bit more aggressive and to get the full backs more involved in the wide areas after half time and to stay patient. Yeovil started to tire as we kept the ball moving around and the second half really opened up ten minutes in.
“The second came when Joe cut the ball back for Jordan Graham to make it 2-1. Then from a set piece we managed to do precisely what we had worked on in training and a ball to the back post was headed back and Joe scored his second. Then Dan Carr broke out from right back and fired low past the keeper. Malachi then scored a good individual goal when he shaped to come inside and curled a shot into the far corner.
“Understandably at 5-1 down Yeovil started to struggle a bit but the good thing from our point of view was that we kept at it and didn’t ease up. The sixth was Dann Carr again with a mazy run from full back, and then in the 90th minute Jordan Graham did really well again to set Malachi up for his second and our seventh.
“There were a lot of positives. Dan Carr scoring twice from full back was good, and Malachi Napa did well and got two as well. Jordan Graham is back with us after a loan at Didcot and after an injury is easing his way back in. We have told him that after signing pro forms he really needs to show what he can do in youth team games and he did just that. Hopefully he will get out on loan again once he has got a few games under his belt. “
Clayton (Crowther 75), Carr, Chilcott (Crooks 75), Berry-Hargreaves, C Hawtin, Bryan (Isherwood 75), Baker (Heap 70), Cowan, Napa, Graham, Hartley
Our thanks to Terry Winter for the pictures