Oxford United’s under 18s came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Swindon Town in the EFL Youth Alliance on Saturday.
16-year-old striker Adam Smith was again on the scoresheet and coach Lean Blackmore-Such tod us:
“It was a derby, maybe a little less heated than the first one the other week where we had a few fireworks. This game started a little bit quieter and Swindon started better than us, I won’t hide that. We lacked a little bit of intensity at the top end of the pitch to try and find that goal and at the other end Eddie Brearey had to make two good saves to keep it at 1-0.
“They scored from a set piece after 13 minutes where they didn’t make great first contact but got onto the loose ball and put it in for 1-0. We had a chance of our own just before that from a set piece where Clint Nosokhare had a free header but put it wide, so we could have been level at the break but instead found ourselves a goal down.
“The message was based on those two moments- you can sometimes not play well and find yourself still in a game and able to pull it round, based on what you do in both boxes. I asked for more intensity in the press which we did. I would still ask for more quality in that next time but we improved and came back into the game when Adam came inside and drilled in a left footed effort which found the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
Both sides went for a win and it became a bit stretched. They had one shot from the edge of the box that went wide but I thought we had the better chances; one counter attack where we were 5 on 2 went wrong, Adam had another chance but didn’t get proper contact. But we had turned a possible defeat into not getting beaten, which is a good habit, but we need that intensity from the very start instead of having to come back from a goal down
“We had a couple of players out on loan but we had four under 16s involved and they will get further opportunities and a that was encouraging. Everyone will get a chance this week when we have no fixture on Saturday so we are using this week as a big training block for fives days before we come back in and go again.”
Brearey, Watt, Nosakhare, Golding, Grant, Gardner, Anifowose, Coe, Owens, O’Donkor, Smith.
Subs: Niemczycki, Tiamuna, Franklin, Osbourne