Oxford United went through to the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 win away at Hemel Hempstead Town tonight. Two goals from Slavi Spasov and a late strike from sub Connor Ferguson eased the U's through on another highly encouraging evening.
United dominated the first half with Owen James and Michael Elechi linking up well down the left and Ryan Crooks getting in the first effort of the night, a left-footed effort that went gently wide. The home keeper then made an outstanding, if unconventional, save with his face after one of his own defenders rocketed a clearance straight at him from six yards out, and then a better one from the dangerous Kyran Lofthouse after he ghosted past three men on the right.
At the back Harry Sampford came in for the suspended Freddie Niblett and the back three of Sampford, Victor Milton and Nico Jones looked composed as well as being able to bring the ball out and join midfield duo Aaron McCreadie, captaining the side, and Leon Chambers-Parillon.
Having had the vast bulk of possession it was no surprise when the U’s took the lead ten minutes before the break with a classic goal from Spasov. Crooks sent in an inviting cross and Spasov found space to bury his header beyond the keeper. The same combination then produced the second goal right on the break when James smashed an effort against the bar and Spasov put the rebound away.
James hobbled off at half time with a dead leg, Jordan Edwards replacing him up front and firing his first effort over the bar as the U's continued to trouble the Tudors. The excellent Chambers-Parillon tricked his way past two men before clipping his effort just over, Jones forced the keeper into a flying save on 66 and United laid siege to the home goal for most of the second half with Spasov denied a penalty when his penalty on 78 was saved by the excellent home keeper.
However Ferguson made up for that with five minutes left when he tapped home a rebound for the third goal after another good save from the overworked keeper.
United now go on to face either Peterborough Sports or Barnet at home in the next round
Evans, Lofthouse, Sampford, Milton, Jones, Elechi, McCreadie(C), Chambers-Parillon, O James (Edwards h/t), Spasov (Ferguson 84), Crooks (Goodrham 85)