United's under 18s drew 3-3 away at Swindon on Saturday
Football League Youth Alliance
Saturday 7th October
Swindon Town 3
Oxford United 3
Leon Blackmore Such writes:
“The lads definitely know what the fixture means. I’m a local lad as well so I definitely let them know! So they know the fans look out for the result against Swindon and we worked hard through the week to build up but it wasn’t easy. Freddie Niblett has picked up a knee problem that will keep him out for a while, Niall Clayton the goalkeeper pulled out through illness, Rex Manning did the same, Ryan Crooks and Kyran Lofthouese picked up injuries so we lost a few players in the build up but we saw it as a good chance to give some of our under 16s a chance and they did great.
We pulled together and started well, both teams going at it and a few tackles flying around. The referee was Italian and it was his first game at this level in England, so good luck managing an Oxford Swindon game first up!
We stuck to the shape we had at Forest Green and caused them problems down the flanks and in behind. We got a goal through Albie Hopkins, finishing a cross first time. He was released by Swindon at 16 so that was a nice moment for him and the lads were buzzing.
Swindon had a few decent balls into our box and a few set pieces but no real clear cut chances and we defended well, then the second goal came when Dejon Noel-Williams made a clever run down the side and slotted it past the keeper to make it 2-0.
Swindon started to come back at us and made it 2-1 just before the break with a direct free kick but we were relatively happy. Dejon is a big lad up front and at times we maybe went a bit too long because of his physical presence. So we asked the lads to keep the ball a bit better and we did that and then made it 3-1 from a free kick where James Cowan put in a great ball and Aaron Heap scored at the back post.
3-1 up and we should see it out but there was still half an hour to go and although we were very much in control you are always aware that something can happen that you can’t make plans for. Max Evans, our under 16 keeper, came out and got the ball in both hands and then a full second later their striker slid in and kicked it out of his hands, then picked himself up and rolled it in for 3-2. The goal was given and you just know that now you are going to have a difficult 20 minutes.
We dug in and fought for everything but in the end they made it 3-3 with a header at the back post from a corner.
If you looked at the balance of the game then maybe it was a fair result, but we felt one or two things went against us and it was a bit frustrating. But given the injuries and problems in the week before then you take the point and move on. Next we play Bournemouth who are top and unbeaten in 11 games now. Hopefully we can get some of the players back out on the grass and give it a real good go.
Evans, Carr, Baker, Chilcott, Heap, McCreadie, Cowan, Hopkins (Rogers 55), Stevens (Slavi 55), James, Noel-Williams