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The Luck of the Irish Snatch Three Points From the Development Boys

Newly promoted Oxford Irish rode their luck as they sealed a debut Senior League win against a Woodstock Development team who will be ruing not taking their chances.

Wodstock were stunned when the visitors were ahead within 2 minutes after a mistake on the right allowed Irish in on goal. The first effort was saved magnificently by Tom Molloy at close range but Matt Carter was on hand to nod home the loose ball.

From this point onwards it was all Woodstock who reacted well and began to steam forward in search of an equaliser. Teenagers Liam Bluett and Harrison Pearse we’re almost too hot to handle for the visitors with both players having chances to score but to no avail. Dion Long should have scored on 7 minutes after Shaun Pikes pin point cross fell to him but his tame header was tipped round the post by the keeper. The resulting corner was nearly turned in at the far post by the outstretched skipper Steve Jarrett but he couldn’t divert the ball on target.

The Reds did get the deserved equaliser just three minutes later when Bluett powerfully headed home an Ed Keppie corner.

Keppie had another gilt edged chance minutes later but headed over. Long, Pearse and Bluett also went close but failed to really work the keeper.

The visiting keeper went down injured on 25 minutes and needed to be replaced But try as they might, Town couldn’t break down the visiting defence despite having all the possession and limiting the visitors to just 4 efforts in the first half.

Town struck the bar twice in the first half with the most memorable being a 45 yard effort from the impressive Harrison Pearse after he spotted the stand in keeper of his line.

It was level at the break with Town showing total dominance but wasteful in the final third.

Woodstock thought they had found the breakthrough early in the second period when Keppie’s squares ball was sent goalwards by Pearse only to strike the inside of the post.

Bluett let fly from range but the sub keeper tipped over magnificently to keep the scores level.

One way traffic doesn’t do the game justice as there were long periods when the visitors couldn’t get out of their half but they defended with tenacity and were too organised to be broken down. On the rare occasion they did threaten, Dan Bigden was on hand to clear the danger.

Time and time again, Town should have scored but fluffed their lines. Substitute Sam Cox had chances but couldn’t capitalise and Liam Bluett was unplayable at times but could not double his tally.

Sam Cox was sin binned for an over zealous reaction to a refereeing decision but this had little effect on the balance of play as Town remained dominant.

However, in typical Woodstock fashion, failure to convert chances were to come back to haunt them following what looked like a foul on Liam Bluett. The ball was hacked forward by Irish and was seized upon by Carter who lifted the ball over Molloy to give his team an unlikely lead with minutes left.

Woodstock still had time to hit the join of bar and post with a fierce shot from Waite and a late goal line scramble.

Disappointment at the final whistle but with only themselves to blame, the visitors were gifted the points through sheer wastefulness.

Despite the result, there were some real positives to take from the game. Town passed the ball really well and there were good performances from Liam Bluett and Harrison Pearse and despite the score line, Woodstock never really looked uncomfortable at the back, limiting the visitors to just a handful of chances and even less on target. That said, there is still plenty of room for improvement.


Woodstock 78%

Irish 22%

Shots on Target

Woodstock 12

Irish 4

Shots off Target

Woodstock 16

Irish 3



Man of the Match

Liam Bluett - Ran the show from midfield and a well taken goal

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