Smalley's scorcher gives Oxford United victory

Oxford Mail: Deane Smalley hammers his shot past West Ham goalkeeper Stephen Henderson Deane Smalley hammers his shot past West Ham goalkeeper Stephen Henderson

Oxford United 1 West Ham United 0

A terrific finish from Deane Smalley saw Oxford United open their pre-season schedule with a win against West Ham United.

The striker, who endured a dismal first season with the U’s, stylishly fired in the only goal of the game on 36 minutes.

Chris Wilder ’s squad were made to work by the Premier League side, particularly in the first half, but goalkeeper Ryan Clarke had relatively little to do.

The closest the Hammers came to an equaliser came was after the break, when former United loanee Rob Hall shot on to a post.

United drafted in six triallists for the game, ensuring they were able to field entirely different outfield teams in each half.

West Ham, who had already played three games in pre-season, named a strong line-up with Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te playing up front.

The Premier League visitors unsurprisingly enjoyed the majority of the early possession and teenage defender Alex Evans, on trial at Oxford from Cardiff City, had to make two excellent blocks on Vaz Te.

But the first clear chance fell to the U’s on the break after 15 minutes.

An Adam Chapman clearance set Jon-Paul Pittman on his way, but after holding off Jordan Spence the striker blazed a shot over from 18 yards.

The friendly atmosphere disappeared midway through the half, when strong tackles in quick succession from Alfie Potter and Mark Noble saw both sides square up to each other.

When the tension subsided Vaz Te missed a glaring chance on 32 minutes, shooting wide first time from Kevin Nolan’s low cross.

The hosts made the most of the let-off and took the lead in spectacular fashion four minutes later.

A cross from debutant Sean McGinty almost found Sean McAllister, but a poor clearance fell straight to Smalley, who did superbly to keep his shot down and find the net.

United made ten changes at half time, giving supporters their first sights of summer signings Michael Raynes, Sean Rigg and Jake Forster-Caskey in action.

The substitutions meant the game lost some of its rhythm after the break, especially with the Hammers making seven changes on the hour.

There were still moments of quality and Forster-Caskey gave a glimpse of his talent with a through ball which almost came off for Tom Craddock.

Hall, who scored six goals on loan at Oxford last season, looked lively after coming on.

He received a warm welcome from the home fans, who chanted the teenager’s name again 18 minutes from time when he was denied an equaliser by a post.

Blair Turgott headed over from close range, but the home side finished strongly to complete the victory.

United are next in action at Didcot Town on Friday (7.45).

Oxford 1st half: Clarke, Batt, Wright, Evans, McGinty, Heslop, Chapman, McAllister, Potter, Pittman, Smalley

Oxford 2nd half: Clarke, Boaten, Tafazoli, Raynes, Capaldi, Smith, Forster-Caskey, Harris, Rigg, Constable, Craddock

Unused subs: Crocombe, Long, Lynn

West Ham: Henderson, Demel (Nasha 60), Spence, Reid (Wearen 60), McCartney (Taylor 46), Noble (Ruddock 60), Nolan (Moncur 60), O'Neil (Pollitt 60), Morrison (Hall 60), Cole (Maynard 46), Vaz Te (Turgott 60)

Unused subs: Larkins, Lletget Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 4,780 (1,101 visitors)

Comments (6)

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11:26pm Tue 17 Jul 12

BigAlBiker says...

Well I for one thought both side we put out did exceptionally well, for the first ten minutes West Ham were passing it around well then we got the feel of the game and apart from Robbie Halls show they didn't do much.

I tried to put names to numbers but thought every player in yellow did well.

Onwards and upwards.
Well I for one thought both side we put out did exceptionally well, for the first ten minutes West Ham were passing it around well then we got the feel of the game and apart from Robbie Halls show they didn't do much. I tried to put names to numbers but thought every player in yellow did well. Onwards and upwards. BigAlBiker

12:23am Wed 18 Jul 12

BenkiuGuasu says...

Glorious.... Shame I couldn't make it tonight....
Glorious.... Shame I couldn't make it tonight.... BenkiuGuasu

10:13am Wed 18 Jul 12

karatavuk says...

Mark Noble is a dick head. Running around trying to start a fight with everyone. It's only a friendly Mark.

If we could play West Ham every week we would have a very successful season. They didn't look all that good did they?
Mark Noble is a dick head. Running around trying to start a fight with everyone. It's only a friendly Mark. If we could play West Ham every week we would have a very successful season. They didn't look all that good did they? karatavuk

11:56am Wed 18 Jul 12

martico1 says...

Very positive - we played nice stuff and just deserved the win. On this evidence I fear for Hammers in the Premiership; and they really should have reacted better to Alfie's challenge. Noble would have got a red in a proper game - for sheer boneheadedness if nothing else. McGinty really struggled at left-back though - hope it was just nerves......
Very positive - we played nice stuff and just deserved the win. On this evidence I fear for Hammers in the Premiership; and they really should have reacted better to Alfie's challenge. Noble would have got a red in a proper game - for sheer boneheadedness if nothing else. McGinty really struggled at left-back though - hope it was just nerves...... martico1

5:44pm Wed 18 Jul 12

bigchet says...

any win is always welcome and good buildup towards new season. concerned though about amount of injuries carried over from last season and surprised they werent addressed earlier as if players miss pre season they take a while to get match fit.
any win is always welcome and good buildup towards new season. concerned though about amount of injuries carried over from last season and surprised they werent addressed earlier as if players miss pre season they take a while to get match fit. bigchet

7:44pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Chish and Fips says...

bigchet wrote:
any win is always welcome and good buildup towards new season. concerned though about amount of injuries carried over from last season and surprised they werent addressed earlier as if players miss pre season they take a while to get match fit.
Hence the comment your new 'egg chaser' chairman said then about fitness etc.. being a priority ... look at last season you lot seemed to bounce from one player to another with some injury or other. Then the loans you brought it with the exception of Hall didn't really work.
[quote][p][bold]bigchet[/bold] wrote: any win is always welcome and good buildup towards new season. concerned though about amount of injuries carried over from last season and surprised they werent addressed earlier as if players miss pre season they take a while to get match fit.[/p][/quote]Hence the comment your new 'egg chaser' chairman said then about fitness etc.. being a priority ... look at last season you lot seemed to bounce from one player to another with some injury or other. Then the loans you brought it with the exception of Hall didn't really work. Chish and Fips

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