Tuesday 18th November 2014 ko 19.30
FA Youth Cup 2nd Round
OXFORD UNITED 3 (Graham 14 45 George 20p)
swindon town 2 (McCormack 83 Oulridge 85)
If, perchance you are an Oxford United fan there is a prescribed order when it comes to local rivals. In strict order it goes like this,
- Swindon Town
- Swindon Town Reserves
- Swindon Town Youth team
- Swindon Town Ladies,
and so on…
In recent years Wycombe Wanderers have tried to create a rivalry, with their “Noisy Neignbours,” posters, their fans started singing at their recent visit, the Oxford fans’ retort was “We hate Swindon.” You’d think Reading would create a stir, at club level relations have been fraught in the past, but no great enmity there. Then there’s Oxford City, but rivalry has to be reciprocated, Luton are far more interested in Watford, and as for Northampton, just no!
So Swindon it is, and a measure of the rivalry is that 727 people turned up to watch an under-18 fixture, when the Scotland vs England televised game gave quite an incentive to stay at home. Just half of the lower tier of the Main Stand was open giving all the feel of a London Welsh home game. Except of course, the home team won!
Now local pride is one thing, but the reward of an away tie at Manchester City is not to be sniffed at, and despite the visitors being 3rd in the South-West Youth Alliance with Oxford 5th, it was the hosts who asked all the right questions early on. Swindon maintained possession better but in Jordan Graham, and AJ George, Oxford had real pace up front, and they were being fed by the Wil o’ the wisp Muctaru Conte on the left wing.
Three times the ball was played through at pace and three times United scored. Jordan Graham shrugged off a weak challenge for the first, Town’s Ryan Wood chopped down George to concede the penalty that George himself despatched. The pick of the goals was Conte’s pinpoint cross from the left that simply begged Graham to head home.
Seemingly that was the end of the match as a contest, but United had to defend well as Swindon with nothing to lose threw men forward. One chance Miles Welch-Hayes blocked on the line with the back of his heel, while Jack Stevens saved two good efforts. One Swindon shot looked goal-bound, but team-mate Josh Cook on the goal-line was dozing, the ball hit him on the head and the ball was quickly cleared by a grateful defence. At the other end Oxford substitute Josh Morgan-Williams beat a high defensive line, rounded the keeper….. and shot wide of the right-hand post.
Then with less than 10 minutes left it all got frantic. Swindon scored two almost identical goals. Two crosses from the left in 2 minutes were stroked home by Callum McCormack, and Tommy Oulridge respectively, but a clearly nervous Oxford defence held out, for another win against the old enemy.
The faithful celebrated with their young heroes, and the Swindon players looked crestfallen, but let me give them a little succour at this time of pain for them. Chin up chaps, in Messrs McCormack and Oulridge they have the only Swindon players ever to have scored at the Kassam Stadium!