Oxford United’s under-23 side drew 1-1 with RSM in their latest friendly this afternoon.
In the first under-23 game to be played at the new training ground it was back to earth with a bump for Aaron Heap and Harvey Bradbury, who both started after coming on for their first-team debuts at Wycombe last night.
It was goalkeeper Niall Clayton who caught the eye though on his return from injury, making two or three excellent saves in the first half before United took the lead on 33 minutes when Albie Hopkins’ corner was flicked on by centre-half Matt Berry-Hargreaves for winger Rev James to apply the finishing touch at the back post.
Armani Little saw a free kick flash narrowly wide before the break and had another effort go close as United looked to build their lead but they were pegged back half way through the second half as RSM, a young side of players looking to gain a chance with a pro side, levelled from just inside the box.
The game became very physical after that, with some stern challenges as the driving rain made it hard for both sides, but sub Kyran Lofthouse and left-back Matt Taylor both had chances to win it as United pressed for a late winner.
Coach Chris Allen told us:
“Conditions were quite tough but that’s what these games are all about, testing yourself in all kinds of weather and against different teams. It was hard going, very physical but the lads stuck at it and it will do them good.
“We wanted the game as a proper test ahead of our Under-23 Cup game away at Hull City on Monday evening, so it was good to get 90 minutes and to see everyone working hard and giving it their all.”
Clayton, Niblett, Berry-Hargreaves, Johnson-Fikula, Taylor, Heap, Little (Cowan), Trialist, R James (Lofthouse), Bradbury (Spasov), Hopkins