Oxford United's under 18s kept their unbeaten start to the season going with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Forest Green Rovers this morning. A James Cowan free kick and a Victor Milton header in the second half won the game for the young U's in a very entertaining encounter at Northcourt Road.
United dominated the early stages and Slavi Spasov, fresh from his first team debut in midweek, had an early chance before Cowan made it 1-0 after 17 minutes with a superb free kick from the edge of the area that flashed past the Forest Green keeper to make it 1-0.
The composed Cowan and captain Aaron McCreadie took a firm grip in midfield which meant the visitors having to try and get the ball in behind the United back line.
However after that first half hour United let their visitors back in to the game. One clever pass after 23 gave them an opportunity to take on keeper Max Harris but the excellent Freddie Niblett, back to full fitness after an injury-hit first year, was alert to the danger and won the race to the loose ball as it bobbled towards the unguarded net. A similar chance rolled wide on 40 and there were dangers signs despite United leading 1-0 at the break.
The visitors again made chances after the break- Harris making one flying save and several crosses flashing across the box as the young U’s, watched by Chairman Tiger, were forced to backpedal. That pressure paid off on 70 minutes when a scramble in the box ended with Ollie Artwell rolling the ball into an unguarded United net to make it 1-1.
United responded well and now took the game to Forest Green. Spasov and Owen James both scuffed chances as the game fowed more and more towards the FGR end and on 83 minutes that paid off when centre-half MIlton rose at the back post to head the ball in to the roof of the net to make it 2-1 and win the game for the young Yellows.
A fine game- both sides giving it everything - but United getting the three points and once again underlining the good things going on throughout the Academy. A win, two 16-year-olds playing for the first team and midfielder Aaron Heap making his debut for Northern Ireland Under 19s yesterday. Proud History, Bright Future....
Harris, Lofthouse, Niblett, Jones, Milton, Elechi, McCreadie, Cowan (Chambers-Perillon 65), Crooks (Sampford 76), Spasov, James