OXFORD United claimed the Under-15 Derry & District Cup last week following what was a hard fought 2-0 victory over Top of the Hill Celtic in the Brandywell.
But it was Oxford who started the brighter with Michael McCallion and Paddy Slevin linking up well on the left flank and it was this pair who fashioned Oxford’s first chance when a fine delivery was meet by Connelly Deeney but the striker’s effort sailed agonisingly wide of the target.
Top of the Hill were next to threaten and after good work from Joshua Tracey found Adrian Doherty, a last ditch tackle from Dylan McCallion kept the scoresheet blank.
Lee Ryan, operating on the Oxford right wing, was starting to come more into the game and after a fluent passing with Nick Kerr, Ryan forced a Oxford corner which subsequently saw Oxford break the deadlock.
Slevin produced a excellent delivery into the penalty area and Oxford’s top hitman, Alex Murphy, rose majestically to head the ball firmly into the roof of the Top of the Hill Celtic net.
Oxford continued to press with Jason Sweeney supplying Deeney with possession but his attempt to chip the keeper saw the ball narrowly miss the target.
However, Deeney then turned provider when supplying his front-line partner, Murphy, who skilfully weaved his way around the Top of the Hill keeper to find the net from an acute angle and double Oxford’s lead.
Having gained great confidence from their second strike, Oxford began to look very comfortable on the ball and Murphy Murphy came close to recording his hat-trick on the stroke of half time after a excellent passing move.
Predictably, the Waterside lads opened the second half in a very determined mood, instantly forcing Oxford onto the back-foot. Steven Mills linked up well with Adrian Doherty who sent a shot just over the crossbar and, minutes later, Ciaran Moore’s long range effort narrowly missed the target.
Top of the Hill continued to press and they really should have reduced the deficit but Daryl Mallett headed over the crossbar when well placed.
Having successfully soaked up the pressure, Oxford then began to hit on the counter-attack with Murphy failing to take advantage when played into a one-on-one situation with the keeper, the striker sending his shot wide.
Oxford keeper, Ronan McDevitt, was next to be called into action and he pulled off a top drawer ‘double’ save when denying Philip McCallion. Celtic, to their credit, continued to press but excellent defending from Marc Henry and Owen McGarrigle kept them at boy. However, in the final minute of the game Doherty’s superbly struck shot crashed off the Oxford upright before the ball rebounded into the welcoming arms of Oxford keeper, McDevitt.
“Man of the match,”
Ronan McDevitt (Oxford United).