Oxford United hit back to draw with Charlton Athletic tonight in a highly entertaining 1-1 draw at Grenoble Road. Trailing to an early goal from Tarique Fosu United hit back through Christian Ribeir
Charlton created the first opening when Naby Sarr headed over in the fifth minute but there were half chances for Alex Mowatt from a free kick and John Mousinho from a corner as the game opened at a fiercesome pace.
In form Fosu had a couple of further chances but then on 18 minutes could hardly miss as he opened the scoring. Curtis Nelson tried to hook the ball clear but only succeeded in clipping it against the advancing Fosu who kept running as the ball ballooned towards keeper Eastwood. Unfortunately for Eastwood the deflection had added backspin to the ball and Fosu took advantage to reach it first, nick it past the stranded keeper and calmly pass it beyond two desperately backpedalling defenders as United tried to rescue him.
The goal had an element of fortune about it but Charlton had created the better chances to that point and Ricky Holmes smashed another cross wide at the back post after 20 minutes. However the U’s had hung in there and stuck to their guns and on 35 minutes got their reward as Ribeiro pulled them level with his first goal for the club. James Henry was once again the architect, as so often in recent weeks, jinking to create space for a cross that was only cleared as far as the Welsh right back who smashed it back first time with his left foot for a sweetly taken equaliser.
These are two good sides and they then created a catalogue of chances either side of half time : Wes Thomas clipped a pass from Mowatt just wide at one end but only a magnificent block from the superb Mousinho kept it at 1-1 before Richardinho ended the half with a thumping volley that was cleared off the line by the covering Jake Forster-Caskey.
The second half was just as entertaining with Jack Payne pulling the strings for the U’s and Ricky Holmes catching a volley sweetly only to see the ball ripple past the top of the net rather than flash under the bar. Mowatt, filling the big boots of the suspended Joe Rothwell was non-stop in midfield as was Josh Ruffels who got back to make another important block on 56 as Holmes once again lined up a shot from 15 yards.
Thomas saw a header tipped over from a Ribeiro cross after an hour but the two defences deserve credit for keeping it level. Eastwood made a couple of routine saves but was otherwise well protected by the men in front of him while the Addicks were just as determined in front of their keeper Ben Amos. When Fosu did get a sight of Eastwood's goal on 73 he chipped the ball over both goal and fence with men well placed inside him, while United's number one's only real moment of alarm came when a swirling effort from Billy Clarke needed to be dealt with inside the near post.
Both sides had gone for it but try as they might they just could not find a way past two very disciplined defences despite a fierce rising effort from Ricardinho in injury time.
A hard fought point and United move on to another home game against Rotherham on Saturday. See you there.
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels, stats by OPTA
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