Oxford United's under 23 side drew 1-1 with Wolves in the Premier League Cup this evening. A Harvey Bradbury penalty was swiftly cancelled out by the group leaders but United can hold their heads high after an excellent performance against their Premier League opponents.
Against a strong Wolves side United more than held their own in an evenly contested game played at a very high tempo. Bradbury had two early chances, both saved by keeper Harry Burgoyne, while Cameron Norman let fly from 20 yards to force Burgoyne into his best save of the first 45 minutes.
At the other end Jack Stevens showed some safe handling to catch a Pedro Goncalves free kick and come and take a number of decent balls into the box but otherwise was well protected by his back four of Norman, Sam Long, Charlie Raglan and Matt Taylor.
There was a let off for the keeper in the first minute of the second half when he clipped the heels of Sadou Diallo as the pair raced towards a through ball from opposite directions. Fortunately for Stevens the ref ruled that the striker was heading away from goal and showed just a yellow card.
The lively Owen James then tested Burgoyne with a low effort after 50 minutes and again with a more powerful effort on 61 after he had run from half way to get his shot away from ten yards out but wide of goal. His pace was certainly United’s best route to goal and on 77 minutes it was another surging run that brought the goal. Carrying the ball from deep and showing explosive pace, James was knocked off balance inside the area and Bradbury did the honours with an unstoppable penalty to make it 1-0.
Norman and Raglan had shown typical resolve with vital blocks inside the area and although Wolves did get the ball in to the net after 64 minutes the flag was already up.
With Aarons Heap and McCreadie acting as a highly effective shield in front of the back four United worked hard all night but just one minute after taking the lead United were pegged back when a slip by a defender allowed Carlos Heredia to turn and fire past the helpless Stevens to level it at 1-1
Even then they might have regained the lead but could find no further way through and were left with a point and the knowledge that they had playted extremely well
Stevens, Norman, Long, Raglan, Taylor, Heap (Dai 76), McCreadie, R James, Hopkins (Lopes 90), O James, Bradbury (Spasov 90)