Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports

REPORT Reading 1 Oxford United 1

Honours even in the Thames Valley Derby. Full time report

12 December 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Reading 1 Oxford United 1

Honours even in the Thames Valley Derby. Full time report

12 December 2023

It ended honours even in the first Thames Valley Derby for 20 years as Oxford United were forced to settle for a point  at Reading tonight.

Two goals in four first-half minutes saw Ciaron Brown's opener cancelled out by a Sam Smith equaliser in a full-blooded game played in a terrific atmosphere.

The game started, as expected, at a million miles an hour. Strikers Smith and Mark Harris were both close to crosses without quite being able to stretch far enough, while it took an outstanding block from Jordan Thorniley to prevent Harvey Knibbs scoring with the first shot of the night.

An injury to Ruben Rodrigues, who took a knock to the ankle at Peterborough on Saturday, meant a change of shape with Josh McEachran sitting just behind midfield duo Cameron Brannagan and Marcus McGuane, rather than Rodrigues being ahead of them. That meant a more patient approach and it wasn’t until the 39th minute that it paid off as the U's took the lead.

Having dominated possession, the hard-working Mark Harris worked the ball to the right and Stan Mills fizzed in a magnificent cross with his left foot. Brown threw himself forward and the U’s were a goal up.


Frustratingly, the lead lasted only four minutes. Smith has been a royal pain in United’s neck ever since his loan spell with them ended, first with Cambridge and now for the former Biscuitmen, this time racing clear and sliding the ball past the helplessly exposed Beadle to level things at 1-1.

Beadle kept it that way with a good save from the lively Knibbs before the break, but United grew stronger as the game went on, with far more intensity, driven forward by the superb Brannagan, who at one point almost went through the LED advertising boards such was his fierce determination.

Harris almost nodded the ball beyond Button, sub Joe Bennett saw a free kick fly harmlessly wide off the wall, and the work rate was ferocious as United dominated possession and pushed towards their magnificent away followers. Billy Bodin and Tyler Goodhram were given 25 minutes to try to find a second goal or carve out the one clear chance they needed; Josh Murphy was the danger man down the left as he repeatedly beat his man on the outside.

James Henry was given a chance to find a way past his former club, but there was to be no late local hero, and United had to settle for a point that moves them up to fifth in the table.

Wonderful support, plenty of effort and had a late Murphy drive curled a touch more and found the net rather than fly wide, or a Bodin drive not been blocked in injury time, then we'd be celebrating a derby win. Instead we hopefully wait until later in the season...

Att: 14,397
Away: 2,768

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds, Steve Daniels, JasonPix and Darrell Fisher

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match