Goals from Gavin Whyte and Rob Hall sealed a 2-0 win at Thame United this evening as Oxford United's pre-season began to gather pace. A Whyte penalty and a clever goal from the fit again Hall capped another decent display in which almost the whole squad got game time.
United controlled much of the first half but couldn’t find a way to goal. It took until the tenth minute for playmaker Simon Eastwood to spray a magnificent 40-yard pass for Whyte to skip round the outpaced Dave Lynn and test home keeper Craig Hill with a low shot that was arrowing inside the near post. Rob Dickie then went close with a header from the corner and Whyte again tested Hill’s handling on 13 minutes as United began to hit their stride.
Trialist Elliott Frear from Motherwell showed some nice touches on the left despite missing a chance after going round the keeper, while Tariqe Fosu impressed with his close skills once again.
Youngster Kyran Lofthouse has a habit of drifting into dangerous areas and saw an effort deflected wide shortly before the half hour but Thame were stubborn in defence and top scorer Dan West almost put them ahead with a free header on 30 minutes that he uncharacteristically planted over the bar.
However, two minutes after the break the U’s were ahead when Aaron Heap burst forward and was upended on the left edge of the box. Whyte made no mistake from the spot for his second penalty in 24 hours and United then contented themselves for a while with some wayward shooting practice - Lopes, Brannagan, Hall and Napa sending efforts well over the bar after their introduction among a team full of subs on the hour.
Hall - looking sharper with each game - did better with a free kick that rattled the outside of the post and then capped a great cameo with a peach of a goal when he slalomed through the defence, sat the keeper down, and nonchalantly clipped the ball over him and into the far corner. Welcome back Hally.
United kept pressing and kept passing; Napa looked sharp again and Tony McMahon was back in the fold with a trademark free kick which Hill did well to tip round the post.
Another good evening's work in front of an appreciative crowd of over 800. Our thanks to Thame for their excellent hospitality and good luck to Mark West and his team for the coming season.
United move on to Brackley Town on Thursday evening. See you there.
Eastwood (Harris 83), Hanson (McMahon 59), Guthrie (Allardyce 59), Dickie (Mousinho 59), Berkoe (Ruffels 59), McCreadie (Sykes 59), Gorrin (Lopes 59), Lofthouse (Hall 59), Frear (Henry 59), Fosu (Heap 30 (Brannagan 59)) Whyte (Napa 59)
Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Darrell Fisher