Oxford United’s under 18 side continue to top their table after a fine 5-3 win away at Newport on Saturday.
Coach Leon Blackmore-Such told us:
“It’s always tough at Newport and the games tend to be a battle. That’s what we told the boys and they didn’t let us down with their attitude and fighting spirit. We have a no excuses mentality so changing at one venue then going to another didn’t affect the lads at all and that is to their credit. Also, remember we have the FA Youth cup game at Burnley on Tuesday so maybe our minds could have been on that, but that didn’t happen for even one moment.
The wind was a huge factor. We were against it in the first half but we took the lead in the first minute through a good finish from Ryan Crooks after great work by Owen James. I have played and coached in some windy conditions before but nothing like we had on Saturday and that meant we were always going to be under pressure in the first half. That is something to learn from; you have to play your football even if it is cold, wet, blowing a gale or whatever.
Newport scored through an individual error from us at the back post so it was back to 1-1 but we went 2-1 up after good work from Crooks who freed Slavi Spasov and his ball across found Michael Elechi who scored his second in two games, so he has added a few goals to his game recently.
Newport then got a free kick that flew in with the wind behind it and with the last kick of the half got in behind us for a one on one that made it 3-2.
A goal down at the break and we could have panicked but deep down I think we knew that with the wind helping us it would give us that bit more after the break, and that’s how it proved. Newport had one shot in 45 minutes, but we used the conditions really well. Slavi got up well to head home a corner to make it 3-3 with his 20th of the season, before Aaron McCreadie scored with a great strike from the edge of the box after a pull back from Fabio Lopes.
To top is off Owen James received a short corner, shaped it through a few bodies and we were 5-3 up and able to see the game out quite comfortably .
So we remain six points clear with four games to go, and we have to be happy with that situation, on top of the FA Youth Cup game. Still all to play for but another good performance and an important win.”
Evans, Trialist (Sampford), Niblett, Jones, Elechi, Chambers-Parillon, McCreadie, Crooks (Stevens) James (Lofthouse), Spasov (Edwards), Lopes