Oxford United U18s were held to a goalless draw by Bristol Rovers in the FA Youth Alliance South-West Section at the Bangkok Glass Training Centre earlier today.
It was a cagey first 15 minutes, with no real chances being created. Ben Watt was always looking for the over-the-top through ball, which was inches from being collected from United’s strike force a handful of times, but the regimented Rovers defence held them off.
The best chance of the first half came from a good spell of possession around the box from Rovers, ending with a shot on the turn that needed a fingertip save from Eddie Brearey to keep the scores level. The remainder of the first half was littered with half-chances either end which neither side could capitalise on.
Oxford dominated the second half, leaving Brearey to be a spectator for 45 minutes. It was a half full of Oxford possession, with the occasional run in-behind from Gatlin O’Donkor and Adam Smith.
In the 64th minute the Bristol keeper came rushing from his box and collided at some pace with O’Donkor. The referee ultimately produced a yellow for the goalkeeper and both players were able to play on. A late spell of pressure from the U’s caused the Bristol defence some problems but no one could supply the finishing touch to put the game to bed.
The game ended goalless, but the U’s played with a lot of grit and determination and now look forward to the FA Youth Cup fixture they have on Wednesday evening at Cambridge United.
Report by Tom Smyth