Oxford MailBerwick Rangers 1 (Morris 2) Oxford United 2 (Hall pen 63, Rigg 71) (From Oxford Mail)

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Berwick Rangers 1 (Morris 2) Oxford United 2 (Hall pen 63, Rigg 71)

A FANTASTIC strike from Sean Rigg gave Oxford United a hard-earned pre-season victory at Berwick Rangers.

The winger found the top corner from a free-kick routine shortly after coming on as a substitute.

It gave the U's a win, but they had to come from behind after a poor start.

Josh Morris capitalised on an error from Michael Raynes to put Berwick in front with the first attack of the game and it took the visitors a long time to settle.

James Constable hit a post before the break, but they had to wait until just after the hour mark to draw level, when Asa Hall scored from the penalty spot.

Rigg's finish edged them ahead, but they needed two excellent saves from Ryan Clarke late on to preserve their advantage.

United kept faith with the same back four which started the 1-1 draw at Alloa on Wednesday. Up front James Constable and Dave Kitson were paired together for the first time, while youngster Callum O'Dowda started on the left flank.

The visitors made a sloppy start and fell behind inside two minutes.

Raynes failed to deal with a routine ball forward from Dean Hoskins, who had robbed Alfie Potter on the halfway line. Morris pounced on the opportunity, scuffing a shot which wrong-footed Clarke and trickled into the net.

The U's looked stunned and it took them fully 15 minutes to find any kind of rhythm as the ball was repeatedly given away.

Scott Davies had their first chance when a Potter cross was only half-cleared, but the midfielder dragged his shot wide.

As the half wore on the visitors steadily grew into the game.

Constable, who had headed one half-chance wide, came closest to finding an equaliser before the break.

A clipped pass from Davies on 31 minutes set the striker through and his low left-footed shot beat goalkeeper Paul Grant but struck the post.

Constable did have the ball on the net seven minutes later after a knockdown from Kitson, but it was ruled out by an offside flag.

Lee Currie fizzed a shot just wide late in the half, but Berwick were increasingly on the back foot.

With United boss Chris Wilder scouting a game elsewhere on the region his assistant Mickey Lewis was in charge and his half time team talk had the desired effect.

Constable appeared on a one-man mission to find an equaliser as United made a bright start to the half.

The number nine's hard work set up a chance for himself four minutes after the restart. He unleashed a fierce shot which Grant did well to parry away to safety.

Berwick looked increasingly content to defend their lead, inviting United forward.

They had a penalty shout turned down when Kitson was felled, but the referee did award a spot kick on 63 minutes.

Gavin Duncan spotted a handball at an O'Dowda corner and Hall calmly dispatched his shot past Grant from 12 yards.

Lewis began to make changes shortly afterwards and one of the new faces quickly put United on front.

Rigg won a free-kick on the left and from the set piece Tom Newey rolled it across the box for the winger lash it into the top corner.

Berwick had created virtually nothing since the break, but they should have levelled almost immediately.

Both Andy Whing and Newey failed to cut out a low cross which fell to Scott Dalziel, who blasted a shot from six yards which Clarke did very well to hold.

The United goalkeeper had to make one more save late on, tipping over a swerving shot from Darren Lavery to preserve the victory.

Next up for Wilder's men is a home game against Birmingham City next Saturday.

United: Clarke, Hunt, Raynes, Wright, Newey, Potter (Smalley 65), Hall, Davies (Whing 65), O'Dowda (Rigg 65), Kitson (Marsh 76), Constable.

Subs not used: Crocombe, Bevans, Lee, Long, Lynn.

Berwick: Grant, Turner (Saunderson 79), Hoskins (Brady 66), Murdoch (Fairbairn 66), Tulloch, Janczyk (Gielty 19), Morris, Currie, Lavery, Dalziel (Meikle 79), Martin (Carse 76).

Subs not used: Brady, Bald.

Attendance: 247.

Referee: Gavin Duncan.

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