Oxford United started their pre-season with a win this evening as goals from Dan Agyei and Matty Taylor gave them a 2-0 lead before Lewis Coyle's late brace for the home side looked to have left it honours even in the University City. However Alex Gorrin's final word gave United a confidence boosting 3-2 win on their first appearance of the summer.
In a game which saw everyone given a chance to get game time, United looked comfortable and well-conditioned after a week's training camp in Bournemouth and a first half header from Agyei and a trademark finish from Taylor after the break looked to have eased United home, despite a promising performance from David Oldfield's National League South side. However, Coyle's two goals in the last ten minutes levelled things before Gorrin won it with two minutes to go.
Joel Cooper, on the left of a front three initially, looked lively and whipped two dangerous crosses into the six yard box inside the first five minutes before having the first two shots of the evening either side of the tenth minute. Taylor then struck the post as the electric-yellow shirted U’s began to take control.
That was underlined on 18 minutes when right-back Anthony Forde swung in an inviting outswinging corner and Agyei got above his man to guide his header home from six yards out to make it 1-0.
It could have been two when first James Henry clipped a clever effort narrowly wide and then Agyei stabbed a further couple of efforts just off target.
City had their moments without unduly troubling Simon Eastwood until A Trialist, one of three brothers in the City squad, got through just after the half hour and forced the keeper into a first flying save of the night; a similar save in the second half capped a good week for Oxford's number 1, who had been excellent in training all week as well.
United doubled their lead on 54 when Taylor stole in behind the home defence and rolled home with typical efficiency before the entire outfield ten were replaced on the hour to allow the whole squad to get game time, including the returning Marcus McGuane and Sam Long; Sam Winnall, Billy Bodin and Jack Stevens will start in a behind-closed-doors friendly tomorrow while John Mousinho is expected to play in a week’s time.
The subs settled quickly, Luke McNally imposing on his debut and youngsters Ben Watt, Tyler Goodrham and Gatlin O'Donkor all catching the eye of an appreciative crowd of 949 at Court Place Farm.
City, with a number of former U's players including Josh Ashby, AJ George and Alfie Potter in their squad had perhaps deserved their goal and on 83 Coyle thumped past sub keeper Kie Plumley to make it 2-1 before tapping home from close range to bring the scores level.
However, a late corner from Ryan Williams was forced home by Gorrin to give the U's the win over their City rivals.
A win, a good start and a game played in the right spirit. We wish City well for the season ahead.
Eastwood, Forde, Moore ©, Hanson, Elechi, Brannagan, Henry, Clare, Agyei, Taylor, Cooper
From 60 mins
Eastwood (Plumley 80), Watt, Long (c), McNally, Chambers-Parillon, Gorrin, McGuane, Goodrham, Sykes, O’Donkor, Williams