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REPORT Charlton Athletic 1 Oxford United 2

Smyth goal sees United start 2024 with a win. Full time report

1 January 2024

Match Reports

REPORT Charlton Athletic 1 Oxford United 2

Smyth goal sees United start 2024 with a win. Full time report

1 January 2024

A fantastic late strike from Oisin Smyth saw a bruised and battered Oxford United kick off the new year with a heroic win at the Valley this afternoon.

Missing almost a team's worth of players through injury, those available showed total commitment despite conceding an early goal to a Chem Campbell strike. Mark Harris got them back into things and then Smyth stepped forward to unleash a superb strike from 25 yards to win all three points with his first Oxford goal.

The year couldn’t have started much worse as the U’s went behind inside five minutes. Corey Blackett-Taylor drove at the back line and fired in a shot which former Charlton youngster James Beadle parried, but only as far as Campbell, who took a touch then thumped the ball home to give the Addicks an early lead.

It might have got worse but Beadle made a good save from the dangerous Blackett-Taylor soon after, before United started to settle and get on top. Ruben Rodrigues drew a first save from Ashley Maynard-Brewer as Cameron Brannagan started to pick holes in the Addicks defence. Indeed, only a brave block from Michael Hector kept a Brannagan effort away from goal.

A goal was coming, and after 22 minutes it was Harris who found it with a neat finish to a superb team goal. Rodrigues opened up the defence with a peach of a pass for the galloping Fin Stevens, playing as a right wing-back. He crossed a low ball into the six yard box and Harris slid it home for his first goal in 12 games and, remarkably, his first in the league since August.


United dominated the rest of the half without really testing the masked Maynard-Brewer enough and were then pressed back when the home side started the second half well. There was a let off five minutes after the break when scorer Campbell lost his bearings and headed the ball well off target when unmarked eight yards out. Beadle also needed to make a good save from Tyreece Campbell, but it was far from one-way traffic and after that United dominated.

Harris mistimed a header on 62 and the introduction of fit-again Billy Bodin added guile to the front line for the final half hour. Harris drew a good save from Maynard-Brewer on 70 minutes and the home fans were becoming more frustrated by the minute as the U's strove for their Ledson moment v.2024.

It was Smyth, excellent even before the goal, who provided it. Pressed into action as the right-sided defender in a three-man back line, the Northern Irishman strolled forward and then decided to try his luck from distance. He looked as surprised as anyone to see it rip home, but what a moment and what a performance.

smyth goal (2).jpg

United have a great habit of winning after they lose one this season. This was a significant victory, one achieved in adversity and one based on togetherness. Injured players will come back in the next few weeks. Match the commitment of this 90 minutes and Des Buckingham's team will be just fine.

Att: 13,095
Away: 1,070

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds and Rex Shutterstock

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