Oxford United U23s continued their unbeaten start to the season with an impressive 1-0 victory over a strong Brentford side this morning.
Brentford, who have developed a strong u23s programme over the last 3 years, started well and showed why they are building a growing reputation in the game but the young U's side soon settled into their rhythm and played their part in a tightly contested first half.
Shandon Baptiste and Armani Little showed why they have spent time around Karl Robinson's first team this pre-season with performances full of energy, aggression and quality - both players standing out in central midfield roles whilst Sam Long and Canice Carroll looked composed despite the pace and power of the Brentford front three.
Half time saw the sides go in level at 0-0 but it was Chris Allen's side who started the better in the second half when a dangerous cross from the trialist left back caused problems in the Brentford six yard box and should have led to the opening goal.
16-year old Bicester-based Fabio Lopes continued to show why he has a bright future playing in the number 10 role as the youngest player on the pitch but it was Baptiste and Little that continued to dominate proceedings as they slowly took hold of the game in midfield. Noel-Williams and Whyte were replaced on 60 minutes by a trialist and Academy graduate Albie Hopkins and it was Hopkins who put the yellows in front when he bent a left footed free kick round the wall into the bottom corner on 70 minutes.
The hard-working Malachi Napa was replaced soon after by new signing Rev James who made a instant impact getting in behind the Brentford back four and picking out Hopkins who couldn't quite add to his tally from 12 yards out.
Brentford continued to threaten but the home side saw the game out for an impressive win that will set them up well for Tuesday night's fixture away at Enfield Town.
Agboola, Heap, Long (c), Carroll, Trialist, Baptiste, Little, Napa (R. James 70), Lopes, Whyte (Hopkins 60), Noel-Williams (Trialist 60)
Unused subs - Johnson, Clayton