Quick-fire second-half goals from Aidan Elliott-Wheeler and Tobias Brenan gave United the lead in their Youth Alliance Southwest league game at Plymouth Argyle this afternoon, after Jack Endacott had given the hosts a first-half lead. Joe Hatch levelled for Plymouth to earn a share of the points.
United started well, and when Enrique Tiamuna broke through in the seventh minute it looked like they had found the lead. The striker’s effort was blocked by Zak Baker, and Aidan Elliott-Wheeler couldn’t tuck home the rebound.
Minutes later, Elliott-Wheeler came close again, bending an effort just over the bar from range.
It was, however, Plymouth, just like in the reverse fixture, who found the back of the net first. Endacott found space on the left-hand corner of the penalty area and drilled a low effort into the bottom right corner to put the visitors ahead. It was just about the only way he could finish from that position, and finish he did.
Tobias Brenan and Aaron Lacey both had chances saved from corners and United went into the break a goal down but still in the game against the League leaders.
Skipper George Franklin made way for Erion Zabeli at the break, handing over the armband to his teammate in the process.
United are the only team to have beaten Argyle so far this season, in a thrilling 3-2 victory earlier this year, and this game looked to live up to its predecessor.
The driving rain made way for winter sunshine and virtually straight from the restart, Elliott-Wheeler broke down the left, cut inside his man and powerfully finished into the bottom-right corner to l draw United level.
It then became an almost replica of the Cardiff City turnaround in the FA Youth Cup earlier this week, as in the 52nd minute United found the lead. Tobias Brenan got in behind, beat Harley Sneap to the ball and slotted the ball in off the post to flip the game on its head.
But Plymouth weren’t finished there, as five minutes later they levelled the game. Substitute Joe Hatch struck an effort goalward that deflected past Monty Marriott and into the Oxford net.
Jacob Fowler and Josh Iheanacho replaced Josh Johnson and Elliott-Wheeler to try and find the winner.
Tiamuna so nearly found it in the 66th minute, again finding joy down the left-hand side, but bending narrowly wide from a tight angle.
Marriott made a great save to keep United level, tipping the ball over the bar from Oscar Hall’s header.
Calum Barrett-Doyle and Nathan Bond were the final changes to try and take all three points, but in the end neither side could win the game and the points were shared.
A solid result for the U’s against a side that have only lost once all season.
LINEUP: Marriott, Maxwell, Franklin (Zabeli, 45’), Lacey, Sankoh (Bond, 85’), Took-Oxley, Brenan, Johnson (Fowler, 59’), Elliott-Wheeler (Iheanacho, 65’), Tiamuna (Barrett-Doyle, 77’), Burton