Oxford United’s Under 23 side got back to winning ways this afternoon with a 4-1 win over the FFDTV Academy at Court Place Farm thanks to two goals from Brandon Taverner and a brace from a trialist forward.
After a 5-1 defeat at Peterboorugh last week Chris Allen was looking for a reaction from his young players and got exactly that when United were ahead inside five minutes. A cross from Albie Hopkins - excellent in a central midfield role - gave Taverner the chance to head home from close range.
United then had the bulk of the play and winger Rev James forced a save out of the keeper after 15 minutes before turning provider after 20 minutes with a cross from the right which was stabbed home by United’s trialist centre forward.
However, United failed to build from that start and let their opponents back in to the game, conceding right on the stroke of half time to halve the advantage and offer a lifeline to the visitors.
It took until the 55th minute for the U’s to regain some breathing space, and keeper Jack Stevens had played his part with a couple of saves to preserve the lead, before the trialist finished neatly from the edge of the area after left-back Matt Taylor had driven the team forward with some overlapping runs and crosses which at last got the Yellows pressing forward.
Now able to play with a bit more freedom due to the two-goal lead, United began to assert themselves more and more with Aaron Heap driving them forward from the middle of the park and Owen James testing the keeper with a 60th-minute effort.
Sub Slavi Spasov sidefooted a chance wide and Rev James saw an effort cleared off the line with time running out before Taverner got on the end of a similar chance and poked it past the keeper to make it 4-1 and ensure that the U's had come through another good test with a winning performance.
Stevens, Lofthouse (Niblett 70), Berry-Hargreaves, Johnson-Fikula, Taylor, Heap, Hopkins, R James, Trialist (Spasov 75), Taverner, O James (Crooks 70)