Oxford United's under-23 side enjoyed a 3-0 win over Bristol Academy in a friendly this afternoon at Court Place Farm thanks to goals from Brandon Taverner, Rev James and Fabio Lopes.
United dominated the early stages with Tsun Dai testing the goalkeeper with a well-struck early effort although the Academy side in their hi-viz yellow kit then grew into the game and had three speculative efforts comfortably held by Jack Stevens.
Taverner, playing as a lone front man in front of the lively trio of Lopes, Slavi Spasov and James, slammed an effort into the side netting after half an hour and then almost set up the excellent Aaron Heap with a cross that just skidded away from the midfielder as he surged into the six yard box after winning it in the centre circle at the start of the move in typical Heap style.
Taverner then ended a decent spell of pressure with the opener after 34 minutes. Left-back Matt Taylor made it by beating his man and crossing for James who chested down for Taverner to power his shot past the keeper from 15 yards out- a good finish after the ball just sat up awkwardly.
James then made it two just before the hour when Taverner and Spasov were both closed down inside the box but the ball ran for James who finished confidently from 12 yards to double the lead.
Sub Albie Hopkins showed some great touches, his second rolling almost across the line before being cleared, before Lopes made it 3-0 half way through the half when Heap got past the defence, Spasov helped it on and the 16-year-old Lopes prodded the ball past the keeper and just inside the right-hand post.
Hopkins and Heap both went close with further efforts, Dai had a drive smothered by the keeper but further goals would have only served to emphasise a very promising performance from Chris Allen's side, who saw Stevens make an outstanding save in the final minute to preserve a clean sheet and make it just about the perfect run out.
Stevens,Wilson, Berry-Hargreaves, Johnson-Fikula, Taylor, R.James, Heap, Dai, Lopes, Spasov (O James 80), Taverner (Hopkins 62)