Matty Taylor scored four as Oxford United hit Hayes & Yeading United for nine tonight at Thame United.
Four from Taylor and strikes from Michael Elechi, Tyer Goodrham, two from Joel Cooper and one from Derick Osei Yaw gave United a remarkable win on a day when 12 players were forced to miss the game after self-isolating.
Because of those Covid isolations, United fielded a side that mixed familiar faces with youthful enthusiasm. Simon Eastwood, Jamie Hanson, James Henry, Taylor, Mark Sykes and Cooper lining up alongside youngsters Ben Watt, James Golding, Elechi, Josh Johnson and Goodrham.
The energetic Goodrham impressed in the early stages, Henry netting from an offside position after one early move before Taylor gave the U’s the lead with a typical poacher’s goal after 12 minutes, his fourth of pre-season, from close range after Henry’s drive had been blocked. Elechi then doubled the lead on 17 with a superb run from left back and a calm finish across visiting keeper Lewis Lavin to make it 2-0.
After 29 minutes it was 3-0 when Hayes’ left-back Jordan Norville-Williams inexplicably passed the ball straight to Taylor who had a clear run at goal, sitting Lavin down and casually rolling the ball home into the empty net to make it three.
Five minutes later and Taylor had his hat-trick. This time it was a clever pass from Goodrham that set Cooper in on goal. His shot was smothered by the falling Lavin but Taylor was too sharp and rolled the ball home once again to make it six goals in three pre-season matches.
Jack Stevens came on as the one half-time replacement but the Taylor show continued on 52 when Sykes burst clear, Goodrham set the ball back and Taylor weaved past a man and buried the ball across the stranded Lavin once more.
The striker will get the plaudits but there was also an excellent performance from Jamie Hanson at the back, some terrific work from Sykes and Cooper and on 57 a goal from Goodrham as he clipped the ball over the keeper, no Lavin matter by now, to make it 6-0.
On 69 minutes the hard-working Cooper got the goal he deserved when sub Osei Yaw did well on the left and crossed for the winger to confidently strike the ball home to make it 7-0, and on 73 Osei Yaw made it huit with a terrific effort into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box.
Cooper slotted home the ninth after stopping the ball to clip home from close range and United spurned at least two open goals as they finished strongly against a tired Hayes and Yeading side.
We wish them, and Thame United, well for the season ahead but the U's were excellent this evening and considering the previous 24 hours will be more than pleased with their night's work.
Eastwood (Stevens h/t), Watt (Nosakhare 53), Hanson, Golding, Elechi, Henry, Goodrham (Anifowose 62), Johnson (O’Donkor 63), Sykes, Taylor (Osei Yaw 63), Cooper
Report by Chris Williams, pictures, Steve Daniels, Steve Edmunds, Darrell Fisher