Oxford United won the first part of their Oxfordshire double header today when goals from Marcus McGuane, Matty Taylor and Marcus Browne earned them a 3-1 win at North Leigh in a spirited friendly played in bright sunshine.
Two games in one day meant a split squad for the U’s who kicked off this part of their day with Jack Stevens in goal, Yoav Sade, John Mousinho, Ciaron Brown and Will Owens in defence, Oisin Smyth, Ben Davis, Marcus McGuane and Billy Bodin in midfield, and Marcus Browne partnering Matty Taylor up front.
Newly promoted North Leigh offered energetic opposition, with former United youngsters Aaron McCreadie and Aaron Heap showing well in midfield and one or two early shooting opportunities coming their way without truly testing Stevens. But it was the U’s who broke the deadlock after 29 minutes, when McGuane powered through the middle to slot the opener away after Bodin and Taylor had opened things up.
That was a little harsh on the home side, who levelled three minutes after the break when Roger James hammered a low ball under the exposed Jack Stevens to make it 1-1. But Taylor restored the lead on 72 when he scored from the spot on the ground where he admits his story began.
Browne then made it 3-1 with a trademark cool finish when the excellent Bodin found him inside the box.
United then gave their scholars a chance to fnish the game for 15 minutes; they will do the same at Banbury later this afternoon, but it had been a good test for all 21 players involved.
Our thanks to North Leigh: a record crowd, a competitive friendly and excellent preparation for both teams ahead of the new season.
Stevens (Brearey 80), Sade (Sankoh 75), Mousinho (Smith 75), Brown (Franklin 75), Owens (Trialist 75), Smyth (Brenan 75), Davis (Elliott-Wheeler 75), Bodin (Took-Oxley 75), McGuane (Tiamuna 50), Browne (Davis-Stepehenson 75), Taylor (Iheanacho 75)
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels, Steve Edmunds and Darrell Fisher