A young Oxford United under 21 side were beaten 3-1 at Southend United yesterday as they completed the group stages of the Central League Cup.
With injuries to Fabio Lopes and Jack Stevens, Kyran Lofthouse and Slavi Sasov out on loan at Woking and Leon Chambers-Parillon away with the First Team the U’s gave several players from the younger age groups a chance to step up, ending the game with seven scholars and two under 16s, but found the gap in experience just too much against a Southend side who featured a number of players with first team games under their belt.
1-0 down at the break United fought hard in that first half and having gone 2-0 down shortly after half time got their reward when Tyler Goodrham, always bright on the right of a three man attack, beat his man in a one v one and crossed for Dylan Asonganyi, back from a loan at Chelmsford, to score and make it 2-1.
However United couldn’t quite get back on level terms despite bright performances from right-back Ben Watt, returning from injury, and Enrique Tiamuna and Gatlin O’Donkor both getting a chance to play at this level despite still being in the under 16 side.
The Under 21 side will continue to play games between now and the end of the season: next up is a home game against West Bromwich Albion next week.
Meanwhile with the older scholars staying within this group a number of under 17s and 16s will be in the squad for the under 18s when they take on Swindon Town on Saturday.
Plumley, Sade (Watt), Nosokhare, Jones, Elechi, Sole (Johnson 60), Anifowose (Tiamuna 60), Gardner, Goodrham, Crook (O’Donkor 65), Asonganyi
Sub not used: Niemczycki