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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Carlisle United 0

Harris goal seals first win. Full time report

12 August 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Carlisle United 0

Harris goal seals first win. Full time report

12 August 2023

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Oxford United got their season up and running today when a Mark Harris goal earned them a 1-0 win over Carlisle United at the Kassam Stadium.

harris-scores.jpgHarris marked his home debut with a first goal as the patient U's finally found a way through against a stubborn Carlisle defence.

The newly promoted Cumbrians, under the leadership of Manor Legend Paul Simpson, had the first chance of the game when Callum Guy fired wide after five minutes and they proved difficult to break down, especially in an even first half in which United never truly found a spark.

120823 carlisle 1st (2).jpg

Defensively, James Beadle had little to worry him, with Stephan Negru looking very composed on his full home debut in place of the injured Jordan Thorniley, but at the other end of the pitch, Tomas Holy was largely untroubled until the break.

There were some nice touches from Billy Bodin and a couple of runs from Marcus Browne as the U’s looked to stretch the game out wide, but we had to wait for first-half injury time before Cameron Brannagan’s effort from the edge of the area registered as the first shot on target.

The second half was delayed while the ref investigated the state of the net (holey after Holy had vacated), and the best chance thus far came at the far end two minutes later as the industrious Harris intercepted on half way, ran free but lost the shooting chance when he checked back to try and find the right angle to beat Holy. It was a test run for the game's deciding moment.

There was much more intensity after the break, stoked by the home fans raising their voices to try and draw the Yellows towards them. Bodin had two shots, one over the bar the other blocked at source, and the game became entrenched in the Carlisle half of the pitch as Liam Manning's side tried to find that first win. For some reason they seemed reluctant to chance their arm when shooting opportunities came along, but patience is key and a clear opening had to come at some stage.

Bodin floated a free kick over the bar and then that elusive goal chance finally came. Need a spark? Call for Sparky...

Tyler Goodrham clipped a peach of a pass through and Harris was away again. Holy came towards him, but Harris got there first and poked the ball perfectly past him to make it 1-0 and decide the closest of games.


United were in control of the game from then on. Cameron Brannagan might have doubled the lead but saw his drive blocked and a first clean sheet, to go with that first win, made it the perfect home start.

Perhaps not a vintage performance, but United will get better. For now, that first win is all important and at the end of the season nobody will look back at the scoreline and wonder about the way it was achieved. All they will do is see three points on the board and a season under way...

Att: 7,964
Away: 770

Polythene UK Fifty/50 winning number 86285 wins £939.50

Report by Chris Williams, pictures JasonPix

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