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Under-18s Bow Out with Narrow Defeat

9 May 2017

Owen James goal a consolation as United's youngsters lose their last game

Oxford United's under 18s completed their season with a narrow defeat at home to Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Owen James scored for United but the U's were already 2-0 down and, despite a late onslaught, they were unable to find an equaliser.

United started brightly but despite playing some good football they failed to trouble the visiting goalkeeper. They were made to pay for a defensive error when the Cheltenham left winger was set free and he hammered home to give the visitors a half-time lead.

Oxford were grateful to goalkeeper Niall Clayton who made two outstanding saves to keep the score down, with Cheltenham also hitting the crossbar in the closing stages of the first half.

The U's found themselves further behind as Cheltenham started the second half strongly and Clayton was unable to do anything to keep out their second goal. Thereafter, though, it was all Oxford and the goal they were looking for came in the 70th minute when James showed some nifty footwork to get past the last line of defence before slotting the ball home.

This was the signal for United to apply some intense pressure, with the Cheltenham goalkeeper being kept busy by James and Dejon Noel-Williams, who had a good shot well saved low down to the keeper's right. Despite their pressure, Oxford were unable to level the scores and so ended the season in fifth place in the Merit League B.

United: Clayton, McCreadie, Baker, Berry-Hargreaves (Niblett), Chillcott, Hopkins (Crooks), Cowan, Heap (Stevens), Bryan, Mannings (James), Noel-Williams