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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 2 Grimsby Town 0

U's go through in the FA Cup. Full time report

2 December 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 2 Grimsby Town 0

U's go through in the FA Cup. Full time report

2 December 2023

Oxford United safely booked their place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 2-0 win over League 2 side Grimsby Town this afternoon at the Kassam Stadium.

A rare strike from midfielder Marcus McGuane and a second-half header from Billy Bodin eased the U's past the hard-working Mariners to secure not only safe passage but also a first win for new boss Des Buckingham.

There was plenty of action right from the start of a typically hard-fought cup tie, with Cameron Brannagan and Alex Hunt exchanging shooting chances before the introuduction of Josh Murphy to the starting eleven paid off with the opening goal after 11 minutes.

Murphy picked up the ball well inside his own half, knocked it forward, and accelerated past the seriously outgunned Kamil Conteh. Credit to Conteh, who did his best but was left trailing as Murphy reached the area and shot at goal. Keeper Harvey Cartwright parried but McGuane was left with the simple task of passing the ball into the net for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.


McGuane’s only other Oxford goal was also in the FA Cup, two years ago against Bristol Rovers, but his role in the team is a crucial one and his partnership with Cameron Brannagan in midfield gives the U’s so many options.

The early goal helped create a full-on cup tie, with Grimsby asking questions of United’s defence without truly creating too many clear chances. The U's meanwhile created plenty. Murphy and Stan Mills, both terrorising their full-backs out wide, had chances blocked or go wide of the mark, and Ruben Rodrigues forced Cartwright into a specatcular save just before the break.

The Portuguese playmaker was replaced by Bodin at the interval and United continued to press, with Mills in particular making inroads. The Mariners were hanging in there though and a second goal was needed, Bodin almost producing it with a header on 67 minutes that Cartwright got down swiftly to save in the centre of his goal.

The final 20 minutes saw the wide men replaced, with Tyler Goodrham and the returning Marcus Browne, but Grimsby almost forced a replay when Donovan Wilson became the latest opposition player to discover just how good James Beadle is, the England under-21 keeper getting down well to beat away Wilson's well-struck effort.

That save proved decisive and on 75 minutes Bodin ended the contest with a downwards header from a Brannagan cross to make it 2-0.


There was the worrying sight of a distraught Browne hobbling off the pitch just 12 minutes after his reintroduction, and there were four more good saves - two from Beadle, two from the overworked Cartwright - but by then the result had been all but decided and United were through.

Credit to Grimsby, who fought for everything and played some neat football, but the Mariners had failed to find the net and United had a second clean sheet in a row to make sure they go into the draw on Sunday lunchtime.

The FA Cup dream remains alive.

Att: 4,149 including 871 away

Polythene UK Fifty/50 winning number 104912 wins £357.50

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds, JasonPix, Steve Daniels. Darrell Fisher. Stats by OPTA

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