10:27pm Friday 10th August 2012
By David Pritchard
Oxford City 0 Oxford United 2
TOM Craddock was the difference as Oxford United beat Oxford City in an evenly contested pre-season friendly.
The striker scored once in each half to give the U’s a victory in their final outing before the start of the season.
Craddock’s efforts, the second of which came from the penalty spot, were the highlights of an otherwise low key game, where both goalkeepers went long stretches without being tested.
With United boss Chris Wilder unwilling to risk an injury to key players just four days before the start of the season, the visitors named an unfamiliar side.
The starting XI featured six triallists, including JP Kalala, who made 30 appearances for Southend United last season, and Ipswich Town youngster Aaron Jones.
City looked at their most dangerous from set pieces in the opening 45 minutes.
The hosts’ first sight of goal came from a corner, when Chris Wilmott’s acrobatic volley was cleared off the line by Jones.
Tyrone Marsh looked lively as he led the U’s line and the teenager carved out a good chance with a bright run. He squared for Adam Chapman 12 yards out, but the midfielder volleyed well over the crossbar.
Chances were scarce as the game settled into a lull, which was only stirred by some robust tackling from Liam Malone.
The City midfielder put in several challenges which were a little overenthusiastic for a pre-season game and he was booked just before half-time.
United took the lead on 37 minutes, when Marsh ran on to a through ball and collided with goalkeeper Warren Carter.
City felt the triallist,making his City debut, was fouled, but the referee allowed play to continue and the ball squirmed out of his grasp straight to Craddock, who slotted into the gaping net from 20 yards.
Alex Evans should have made it 2-0 in the opening minute of the second half. The centre back rose highest to head goalwards at a corner and although it was blocked, the rebound fell back to him, but he blasted off target.
City had more of the game after the break, but Wayne Brown remained relatively untested in United’s goal.
With 13 minutes remaining United won a penalty when Jones turned smartly and was tripped in the box.
Craddock stepped up and calmly sent Carter the wrong way for his second goal of the night.
City came close to pulling a goal back in the closing stages.
Brown saved well from substitute Albi Skendi, who jinked past two challenges before shooting, and the veteran goalkeeper also parried a free kick from Jamie Cook.
City: Carter, Lyon, Stonehouse, Gunn, Learoyd (Cook 63), Wilmott, Pond (Isaac 63), Malone (Alexis 57), Shariff (Barcelos 68), Basham (Benjamin 63), Martin (Skendi 83)
United: Brown, Kamara, Evans, Tafazoli, McGinty, Chapman (Lynn 70), Kalala, Jones, Powell (O’Dowda 46), Marsh, Craddock
Unused subs: Clarke, Long
Referee: Andy Woolmer
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