Oxford United’s under 18s were beaten 4-0 at Chelsea last night in a pre-season friendly to open the Meadow Bank facility for the Surrey FA. Despite the scoreline there was plenty for coach Leon Blackmore-Such to take away from the game.
“It was a really positive experience despite losing the game” he told us. “There were 700 people there and it’s a great place so for a lot of our boys that was a big step up in terms of the occasion but the game itself was very competitive.
“Obviously Chelsea have unbelievable resources and as you would expect they had the bulk of the possession but we stuck in there and created chances as well. Slavi Spasov had two decent chances, Jack Stevens had a good shot, Victor Milton had a header cleared at the back post so we were always in the game.
“They scored two from our errors, but that came with the pressure we were under really, and the other two goals were set pieces so we were never really opened up and exposed too much and we can learn from that.
“I think the thing to take away from the evening was that we have to aspire to the level that those Chelsea lads are at. Not just technique but also tactically and game craft. I can honestly say that we have players in our group who can reach that same level. Last night Max Harris made good saves, Nico Jones grew into the game and there were other good performances but we have seen in the other games so far that this year’s under 18s have so much potential.
“I hate losing any game, and we don’t want anyone thinking we went there just to watch Chelsea play; we went there to compete and play our own football and I think we did that so it was a good game to learn from and now we move on to the next one, which is against Coventry on Saturday. Obviously they are managed by Andy Whing so it will be good to see him and it adds a bit of competitiveness because both of us will desperately want to win that game.
“Over all we are doing well at the moment. The new boys have settled in, the training has been good and we are starting to put good basics and standards in place ready for the season itself.”
Our thanks to Laurence Reade for the photograph