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Bristol Rovers 0 Oxford United 2 (Forster-Caskey 22, Potter 32)
Bristol Rovers 0 Oxford United 2
BRILLIANT goals from Jake Forster-Caskey and Alfie Potter gave Oxford United a perfect start to the npower League Two season with a victory at Bristol Rovers.
Both goals in the first half were worth the trip to the Memorial Stadium alone.
Forster-Caskey opened the scoring with a marvellous curling shot, while Potter's individual effort gave the visitors a cushion.
Rovers controlled the second half but were unable to break down a stubborn U's defence, who ensured a winning start for Chris Wilder's men.
United were unchanged from the midweek cup win against Bournemouth, although Jon-Paul Pittman was fit enough to return to the bench.
The Memorial Stadium pitch, relaid in the summer, allowed for a bright start and both sides to passed the ball well at times.
The only sights of goal in the opening exchanges were from long range, with Adam Chapman drawing a save from Sam Walker with the visitors' best effort.
Rovers had the ball in the net on 15 minutes, when a free kick was headed across goal and nodded in by David Clarkson, but it was ruled out by an offside flag.
United made the most of the let-off and went in front midway through the half.
The hosts failed to clear their lines and Forster-Caskey punished them, cutting in from the right and bending a shot into the far corner.
It was a classy finish, but incredibly the travelling fans had an even better goal to celebrate ten minutes later.
Potter dispossessed Michael Smith on the halfway line and set off for goal.
James Constable distracted the defence with a dummy run, allowing the winger to dribble all the way into the box and slide a precise shot past Walker.
Rovers were a threat at the other end and Ryan Clarke did well to turn a Clarkson shot round the post late in the half.
The U's goalkeeper was kept busy as the hosts made a strong start to the second half.
Matt Harrold almost pulled a goal back within two minutes of the restart, but his flicked shot was turned behind for a corner by Clarke.
United had to really dig in to protect their lead against a rejuvenated Rovers, who controlled the game.
The visitors switched to 4-4-2 to try and steady the ship, but they invited pressure by giving the ball away cheaply.
But for all their dominance Rovers lacked imagination in the final third and they were restricted to efforts from outside the box.
Substitute Tom Craddock had a glorious chance to make it 3-0 late on, but his left-footed volley flew across the face of goal.
It did not ultimately matter, as United ran down the clock to seal a terrific win.
United: Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi, Cox, Chapman (Heslop 64), Forster-Caskey, Potter (Craddock 77), Constable (Smalley 70), Rigg
Unused subs: Brown, Evans, Pittman, McGinty. Booked: Raynes, Capaldi, Clarke
Rovers: Walker, Smith, Virgo, Paterson, L Brown, W Brown (Norburn 70), Gill, Lund (Broghammer 49), Anyinsah (Richards 49), Harrold, Clarkson
Unused subs: Gough, Kenneth, Clarke, Clucas
Attendance: 7,451 (1,019 visitors)
Referee: Dean Mohareb