Oxford United have played their final pre-season friendly as the U’s and League One Coventry City played out a goalless draw. The game certainly didn’t lack entertainment, and the League Two side will be very pleased with the performance against a higher opposition, despite failing to score.
U’s Final Friendly Ends in Stalemate
Michael Appleton’s side, wearing their new red and black away kit, started with their usual eleven, but the U’s took two knocks to first team players Ryan Taylor and Liam Sercombe. That said, both were substituted as a precaution rather than anything serious.
Both sides created early opportunities, with the U’s conducting their passing game to a high standard against the opponents. Sercombe had United’s best early chance, but his on-target effort was comfortably saved by Sky Blues goalkeeper Lee Burge, before Alex MacDonald saw his effort sail wide.
Shortly after, Oxford thought they had taken the lead when Danny Rose’s fiercely struck shot deflected off former U’s defender Sam Rickett’s leg and onto the bar, but Hylton’s headed goal from the rebound was deemed offside. The U’s continued to pressure the Coventry goal until the end of the half, but Kemar Roofe saw his effort blocked.
Into the second half and Oxford were again on top. Patrick Hoban, who had replaced the injured Taylor in the first half, went close early in the second, but Burge pushed his low effort off target. Three minutes later, the U’s were handed a great opportunity to take the lead. Roofe was caught clumsily by Coventry defender Ryan Haines, and Oxford were awarded a penalty. Last season’s top scorer Danny Hylton stepped up, but his effort went well over the bar.
The League One side then began to gain some momentum, forcing Sam Slocombe in the Oxford goal to make a couple of quick saves from James Maddison and Adam Armstrong respectively.
And late Oxford changes, including Josh Ruffels, Sam Long and James Roberts, showcased some of the U’s younger talent, but the League Two side were still unable to find a way past the Coventry goal.
The U’s end an albeit inconsistent pre-season with another goalless draw, but given the way they’ve played and the chances they’ve created, they’ll be high on confidence when they welcome Crawley Town to the Kassam Stadium on 8th August.