A young Yellows U23s side battled to a hard fought 1-1 draw last night against Banbury United in their penultimate pre-season fixture of the new season.
After an immaculately observed minutes silence in memory of local footballing stalwart Jon Shepherd and in conditions better suited to Autumn than pre-season, it was Oxford who settled into possession the quicker of the two sides.
With a side that included nine teenagers in the starting line up, it was an elder statesmen in Tony McMahon who had the first real opportunity when his well struck shot from distance rattled the home side’s cross-bar after good work down the left from Kevin Berkoe.
Thirteen minutes in, the game was stopped when young wide man Ryan Crooks went down with a nasty looking injury resulting him needing to be stretchered off and replaced by a Trialist. Fortunately, Crooks was able to walk out of the stadium under his own steam at the end of the game and will be assessed today to by the yellows Medical Team.
Half time saw the sides go in level but it was the home side who took the lead midway through the second half when a low cross from the Banbury left made it all the way to the back post to be rifled home by the overlapping midfielder past a helpless Max Harris in goal.
In a half that lacked any real rhythm and littered with free-kicks, falling behind seemed to shake the young Oxford side into life and powerful running down the right from Kyran Lofthouse saw him bought down 25 yards from goal enabling McMahon to fire the resulting free-kick around the wall for the equaliser.
The introduction of U18s midfielders Jack Stevens and Leon Chambers-Parillon bought some more urgency to proceedings but the Yellows didn’t really carve out any further clear-cut chances as the game finished all square.
Best of luck to Mike Ford and his Banbury squad for the season ahead and thanks to all for their hospitality.
Harris, McMahon, Trialist (Sade), Jones, Berkoe, Heap, McCreadie, Crooks (Trialist) (Stevens), Trialist (Chambers-Parillon), James, Lofthouse. Unused Sub: Evans.