Oxford United’s young under-18s side secured a well-deserved 5-1 victory against Premier League side Southampton in a friendly on Saturday as they continue to put together a hugely impressive season.
Playing at Southampton’s fantastic Staplewood training complex, and off the back of securing a first ever Academy EFL League title for the club last week, Oxford started the brighter of the two sides with first year midfielder Leon Chambers-Parillion showing a number of nice touches in central areas alongside the always combative Aaron McCreadie.
A dangerous looking front four of Owen James, Slavi Spasov, Kyran Lofthouse and Fabio Lopes was causing problems for the young Saints side and it was Spasov who opened the scoring for Oxford with a brave finish from inside the six-yard box sliding home to beat the home side goalkeeper despite heavy pressure from a number of defenders.
Young forward Fabio Lopes, playing in a slightly deeper role, soon doubled the Oxford lead with a beautifully struck half volley from 18 yards that rifled past the stranded Southampton keeper into the top right-hand corner.
Owen James, playing a week after having been named in the first team squad for the game at Barnsley, was a constant threat down the Oxford left and scored the Yellows' third on the half hour mark, cutting in across the face of the Southampton centre back before bending a right footed effort into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Spasov was replaced on 32 minutes as he continues to work back from injury but Oxford didn’t miss a beat and were soon four up when ames bent his second goal of the game home, this time with his left foot, past the keeper as the Yellows showed the ruthlessness that they have begun to develop over recent months.
Southampton came out firing in the second half and were unfortunate not to score early as they worked a number of opportunities in wide areas showing the quality of their Category One Academy players.
Local lad Lofthouse, who last month signed his first professional contract, continued to build on his positive recent form and it was the right-sider who scored Oxford’s fifth after a powerful run into the box saw him beat the Saints' full back before slotting coolly into the bottom corner.
Left sided centre back Nico Jones once again looked impressive at the heart of the Oxford back four but the away side will be frustrated at losing their clean sheet when Southampton pulled a consolation goal back with 15minutes to go.
No further goals but an encouraging appearance from fifteen-year old substitute Clinton Nosakare was another bright spot on a very positive day for the young Yellows who next week take on Leyton Orient before the start of the second phase of their competitive season in mid-February.
Evans, Sampford (Nosakare 80), Jones, Niblett, Elechi, McCreadie (Stephens 65), Chambers-Parillion, Lopes (Crooks 70), James, Spasov (Edwards 32), Lofthouse
Our 18s will be presented with their League trophy at half time during the Sunderland game on Saturday – come and show your support for both the first team and our young players for what promises to be a positive day next Saturday.