Oxford United went out of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage with a Jonte Smith goal a mere consolation in a 3-1 defeat at Oxford City tonight.
In an entertaining game The U’s took the lead when they were down to ten men after Freddie Niblett was caught by a flailing arm and was off the pitch to receive treatment. In his absence United had to rely on Jack Stevens for a good save- the first of many from the young keeper - then broke to the other end where Owen James did well and crossed for Smith who had a tap in, having also been involved in the build up.
Smith looked fitter and sharper than when he first arrived from Lewes on Deadline Day and with Owen James and Kyran Lofthouse keen to join him from the flanks and Albie Hopkins and Fabio Lopes always eager to get forward United looked dangerous whenever they got forward.
However City were up for the fight and levelled after 28 minutes when the dangerous Craig Fasanmade sneaked in behind a static back line and slid the ball past the helpless Stevens to make it 1-1.
The sides exchanged chances- Smith with a low drive tipped round the post for the U’s Jack Self with a header into the gloves of Stevens at the other end, before Wiltshire was in the right place in first half injury time to prod home after Stevens had made a good save from another Fasanmade effort.
Fasanmade tested Stevens with two decent efforts early in the second half as United played a dangerous game at the back to try and force the pace at the other end. Lofthouse almost slid in to convert an Albie Hopkins cross just before the hour and Nico Jones clipped an effort against the bar and Smith hada follow up header blocked on the line but those were their best chances of the second half.
The danger remained that they would over commit men forward and with seven minutes left that proved the case when Kabongo Tshimanga got clear on the right, drew Stevens and when the ball broke to the left Brandon Thomas-Asante rolled in to an empty net to send City through to play North Leigh in the semi-final. Stevens excelled with three late saves but by ten the game was gone.
A learning curve for the youngsters but full credit to City who we look forward to visiting again in pre-season...
Stevens, Berry-Hargreaves, Niblett (Sampford 12), Jones, Taylor, Lofthouse, Heap, Lopes, James, Hopkins (Taverner 60), Smith (Crooks 75)
Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Steve Daniels and Darrell Fisher