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Match Reports

REPORT Eastleigh 3 Oxford United 0

Young U's shot down by Spitfires

16 July 2019

Oxford United's young guns found Eastleigh just too strong tonight as the Spitfires triumphed 3-0 in a pre-season friendly. Two goals from Ben Williamson and a header from Andrew Boyce gave the home side a comfortable victory as the sides warmed up for the season ahead.

A young and inexperienced United line up - average age under 19 - was perhaps caught a little naively when going two goals down inside 16 minutes and never truly recovered from that setback.

In just the 13th minute right-back Joe Partington found space down the right and crossed a low ball into the six yard box for Williamson to apply a simple finish beyond Jack Stevens. Three minutes later the ball was again worked in to the box from a similar area and Williamson once again applied the finishing touch with a neat turn at the near post.

Given that Eastleigh were in the National League play-offs last season it was perhaps no surprise to see them playing the more coherent football against a United side who had never played as a unit before, but youthful enthusiasm was drawing a blank against their more experienced hosts despite shouts for a late penalty in the first half when Aaron Heap appeared to be brought down.

Even so, it took a good save from Jack Stevens to keep it at just 2-0 at the interval and United had lacked a cutting edge despite some neat approach play.

Ten minutes into the second half they were 3-0 down when Boyce powered home a header from a corner and all United had left to play for was pride. Left-back Kevin Berkoe lifted hopes with a well-struck shot that was tipped over and the excellent Lopes forced Stryjek into the save of the night with a low blast after 75 minutes. Indeed an entertaining game went very end to end as tiredness crept in and it took a superb save from Stevens to keep a fierce Sam Smart effort out with ten minutes to go.

Whether losing 5-0 at Rangers or winning three games in a row in midweek, results are irrelevant at this stage, but for many of the youngsters this will feel like a missed opportunity to force their way into the first team plans.

A learning curve against a good Eastleigh side who will be in the National League mix once again.

The U's now move on to QPR at home on Saturday.

Att: TBC

Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Darrell Fisher and Steve Daniels

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