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Four on target as Oxford United end tour on a high
Jim Dedeus All Star XI 1 Oxford United 4
OXFORD United rounded off their pre-season tour to the United States with a convincing victory against the Jim Dedeus All Star XI.
Four of the six forwards used by manager Chris Wilder opened their accounts for pre-season on a good night all round for the visitors.
Tom Craddock and Jon-Paul Pittman scored either side of Eddie Jones’ lob for the hosts to put the U’s in front at the break.
Substitutes James Constable and Alfie Potter netted in quick succession in the final 20 minutes to ensure the trip finished with a flourish.
Alex Evans and Ryan Tafazoli were paired at centre half, while fellow triallist Courtney Harris came into midfield for Simon Heslop, who was rested with a sore back.
Deane Smalley almost gave the tourists a perfect start when he charged down goalkeeper Giovanni Sinclair’s attempted clearance after 40 seconds, but the ball rolled wide.
It took the U’s until the 17th minute to threaten again, when Craddock’s sweetly struck 25-yard shot was tipped round the post by Sinclair. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Craddock again, but his shot on the turn struck an upright and bounced clear.
The former Middlesbrough trainee did not have much longer to wait for his first goal of pre-season, which arrived on the half hour mark.
A long ball down the right just cleared Smalley, but Pittman won a 50/50 challenge and squared for the unmarked striker to tuck the ball into the net.
But United’s lead lasted less than a minute, although there was a hint of offside about the equaliser. A long ball over the top left Jones on his own and he showed great composure to lob an onrushing Wayne Brown.
Lee Cox should have restored United’s advantage within two minutes. The loanee was slipped through on goal, but he elected to pass instead of shoot and the chance disappeared.
Smalley also shaved the post with a volley, before Pittman put the visitors back in front a minute before the break.
Jake Forster-Caskey showed great vision to chip a perfectly weighted ball into Pittman, who lashed in a volley from ten yards.
Constable and Potter were brought on at the break and the latter did not waste any time to make an impact. The winger rode two challenges on a 40-yard dribble, but his shot from the edge of the box lacked power.
The All Stars came close to an equaliser just after the hour mark. Evans misjudged a header back to Brown, but Ryan Malone slid his shot just past the post.
Seacoast’s Brad Hilton was given a run-out in a U’s shirt for the final 20 minutes, giving Damian Batt – who began the game as captain – a well-earned rest.
The victory was wrapped up with two goals in the space of five minutes.
Constable slammed in a shot from 12 yards to make it 3-1 and the striker turned provider with the next goal 11 minutes from time, playing in Potter to slide a shot just inside the post.
Sean Rigg came close to scoring United’s fifth late on, tricking his way past a challenge but his shot was deflected wide.
The squad fly home tomorrow night, arriving in the UK on Wednesday morning.
United: Brown, Batt (Hilton 70), Evans, Tafazoli, Capaldi (Wright 65), Cox (Raynes 75), Harris, Forster-Caskey, Pittman (Potter 46), Smalley (Constable 46), Craddock (Rigg 59)
Unused subs: Clarke
All Stars: Sinclair, Dunn, Perucica, Branco, Massie, Jones, Jelovac, Antonijevic, Brewster, Omsberg, Sidibe
Subs: Manrau, Malone, Pierrot, Hilton, Bustamente, Resendes, Palumbo, Vukovic, Smith
Referee: Matt Mercier