Oxford United’s under 18s started the second half of their season with a 2-1 defeat at home to Swindon Town on Saturday.
Having won their division of the Youth Alliance, United’s youth team will now take on teams on a regional basis until the end of the season and will take the opportunity to look at a number of under 16s and even younger in these games, with the second year scholars stepping up to augment the Under 21 squad for a series of games.
The young U’s, without the injured Elijah Coe and Mac Masters and with keeper Eddie Brearey on First Team duty at Hull used the game to look at a couple of trialists but even with a new-look side played some good football in the first half and were hard done by to be a goal down from a well-taken free kick before the break which beat the dive of under 15s keeper Monty Marriott.
They hit back soon after the break when centre-half James Golding got them on level terms by converting a Will Owens set play but were undone late in the game when the more experienced visitors tapped home a loose ball inside the box to make it 2-1 and decide what had been a tight match.
Plenty of positives despite defeat with under 15s Marriott and Zaide Took-Oxley joining under 16s Ibby Sankoh and Enrique Tiamuna in a side captained by midfielder George Franklin from that same age-group.
The Under 18s now play Portsmouth away on Saturday while the Under 21 side welcome West Bromwich Albion to the Oxford Sports Park on Tuesday.
Marriott, Sankoh, Trialist, Golding, Trialist, Franklin, Took-Oxley, Tiamuna, Smith, Trialist, Owens
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds