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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 3 Exeter City 0

Rodrigues and Brannagan help the U's beat the Grecians. Full time report

23 September 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 3 Exeter City 0

Rodrigues and Brannagan help the U's beat the Grecians. Full time report

23 September 2023

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Oxford United's excellent start to the season continued this afternoon when a first goal from Ruben Rodrigues and two late penalties from Cameron Brannagan helped them beat second-placed Exeter City 3-0 at the Kassam Stadium.

In a fine advert for League 1 football, United always had the cutting edge and a header from their Portuguese playmaker and two spot-kicks from their talismanic midfielder were enough to give them all three points.

It took eight minutes for Rodrigues, the game's central character, to make the breakthrough. The former Notts County man has wonderful technique and vision, but his first goal for the U’s came with a diving header as he threw himself at a magnificent cross from the again excellent Kyle Edwards to thump the ball beyond the exposed Viljami Sinisalo.


Exeter, having started the week top of the table and dreaming of a return, played some nice football but didn’t truly trouble James Beadle in the first half, with a Yanic Wildschut drive that smashed against the post on 37 minutes their best effort in the first 45 minutes.

United again demonstrated that they are a hard side to break down if they get the first goal, especially if you keep presenting them with the ball in dangerous areas as the Grecians did at least four times in the first half hour, while also leaving right-back Pierce Sweeney isolated against the pace of Edwards.

Some of the home side’s football was outstanding; a move sparked by Rodrigues and Edwards saw the spinning Billy Bodin go close, while Sinisalo had to make a very good save from the same player on 22 minutes after Edwards had again left Sweeney on his tod.

With Stan Mills always willing to take the other full back on, the U’s were full value for their half-time lead and might have extended their advantage when Ciaron Brown dragged an early drive wide soon after the break.

Exeter tightened up and started to keep possession better in the second half, but they ran the risk of leaving space at the back if they chased the game, and in the end that cost them; Mills was denied by a last-ditch tackle on 66 as Marcus McGuane led a swift counter-attack, and Brannagan fired into the side netting soon after.

Wide boys Mills and Edwards were replaced by Greg Leigh and Josh Murphy for the final 20 minutes, and after 82 minutes it was effectively game over as Brannagan settled any late nerves. Murphy fed the midfielder the ball and he rolled it square to Rodrigues who was pulled backwards by Will Aimson. Ref Daniel Middleton saw it clearly, pointed to the spot and Brannagan did the rest.


Four minutes into injury time and United were cruising to their second 3-0 win of the week. This time it was Murphy upended but the same result as Brannagan belted the ball home to score his second.

Two good sides but The U's had the edge on the day and continue to keep up the pressure on the leaders.

A first crowd of over 10,000 this season, a win, a clean sheet and rapturous applause ringing out at the end of a week that saw a big decision go the club's way in their search for a new home.

One way or another, big things are starting to happen....

Att: 10,022
Away: 909

Polythene UK Fifty/50 winning number 91934 wins £955

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

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