• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Oxford United breeze past Fleetwood Town on Easter Monday

Byoxfordnewspaper

Apr 2, 2024

OXFORD United put in a ruthless first half performance to breeze past Sky Bet League One strugglers Fleetwood Town on Easter Monday.

Cameron Brannagan handed United the lead just before the quarter of an hour mark with a deflected 20-yard strike, while Mark Harris doubled the advantage with half an hour played when he rounded off a fine move from inside the six-yard box.

Owen Dale grabbed his first U’s goal with two minutes to go until the half-time break, while Harris put the icing on the cake with a heavily deflected effort in the closing stages.

Des Buckingham made just the one change to the side which drew at Shrewsbury Town on Good Friday, as Tyler Goodrham replaced Billy Bodin, who dropped to the bench.

The U’s dominated pretty much the entirety of the opening 45 minutes, with the first sight of goal coming after three minutes, when Elliott Moore headed into the gloves of Jay Lynch from a Brannagan free kick.

There was a huge let-off at the other end though, when Moore miscued his header, allowing Tom Lonergan to race through on goal, beat Ciaron Brown for pace, but then dink his effort wide of the far post.

United took the lead just before the quarter of an hour mark, via Brannagan’s 20-yard strike which took a nick and deceived Lynch in the Fleetwood goal.

Five minutes later, a left-footed strike from Brannagan, from a similar area to where he opened the scoring, looked to be sneaking in, however Lynch got down to it.

Bosun Lawal sidefooted a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area after 21 minutes, but from then on, the U’s were in virtually complete control.

A Ruben Rodrigues effort from 20 yards deflected up and looped wide for a corner, before Josh Murphy worked himself a yard of space from Phoenix Patterson, and arced a shot off target from a difficult angle.

The lead was doubled though after half an hour when a lovely move saw Brannagan slide Murphy down the left, with the winger putting the ball on a plate for Harris inside the six-yard box.

Goodrham became the latest to have a go, when he shot wide from the edge of the area, while Patterson slammed the crossbar with a central free kick from 25 yards out.

With seven minutes to go until the break, Rodrigues nutmegged Lawal on the left corner of the penalty box, and brought a save out of Lynch, with the ball falling to Sam Long, who struck just wide from the edge of the area.

Dale added United’s third goal with two minutes to go until the break, prodding in after Joe Bennett’s effort was palmed away by Lynch.

Three minutes of stoppage time saw Dale shoot straight down the throat of Lynch, as the U’s looked to well and truly put the clash to bed by half-time.

Five minutes into the second period, Murphy worked his way infield and curled a left-footed shot wide, before half-time substitute Shaun Rooney planted an effort from eight yards wide at the other end.

Lonergan wasted a decent headed opportunity shortly before the hour mark, when he nodded straight into the gloves of Cumming from a left wing cross.

Brannagan then worked himself space on the edge of the box, and unleashed a fierce drive which Lynch was able to get down to.

Buckingham made his first switch just after an hour had been played, as Marcus Browne replaced the impressive Dale down the right-hand side. Bodin and James Henry came on for Rodrigues and Goodrham nine minutes later.

The sting was taken out of the second half, but United added their fourth goal of the afternoon with seven minutes to go when Harris’ strike from the edge of the box took a heavy deflection and nestled in the back of the net.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Cumming; Long, Moore, Brown, Bennett; Rodrigues (Bodin 70), Brannagan, Goodrham (Henry 70); Dale (Browne 61), Harris, Murphy (Leigh 82).

Unused subs: Eastwood, Thorniley, McEachran.

Booked: None.

Fleetwood Town (3-4-3): Lynch; Wiredu, Heneghan, Campbell; Samuels (Johnston 46), Lawal, Kilkenny (Stockley 64), Patterson (Rooney 46); Omochere (Mayor 64), Graydon (Broom 79), Lonergan.

Unused subs: McMullan, Simons.

Booked: Wiredu, Lawal.

Referee: Scott Jackson (Lancashire)

Attendance: 8,631 (146 visitors).