ALEX Gorrin was delighted to score a rare goal as Oxford United bowed out of the Papa John’s Trophy on a high.

The U’s beat Tottenham Hotspur Under 21s 3-2 in their final Southern Group H game, but can finish no higher than third in the table.

Joel Cooper found the net twice in the first 28 minutes to open his United account, but it was also a memorable night in front of goal for Gorrin.

Read the match report here

The Spanish midfielder had not scored from open play in 98 previous appearances – his only strike a penalty at Portsmouth last November – yet fired home in the 65th minute.

“It doesn’t get better than that,” the 28-year-old said.

“I was thinking ‘just shoot’.

“Dan (Agyei) made a great run and the defender went with him so I put it on my left foot.

“In training I’m not that bad, I actually score now and again.

“I thought I might as well have a shot and it went in, so happy days.”

Dan Scarlett’s penalty had briefly restored parity before Cooper’s second goal, the Spurs striker converting from the penalty spot after he was shoved over by Luke McNally.

The centre back was booked for the offence and fouled the same player 17 minutes from time to receive his second red card in this season’s competition.

United needed to win by two goals to have any chance of going through and Jack Clarke dashed any hopes of progression with his consolation in the final minute.

But Gorrin still felt it was a valuable evening for the U’s, who made ten changes to give minutes to players short of game-time.

He said: “I was saying to the boys before the game, it doesn’t matter if it’s (against) 21s, it’s better to get your fitness in a game than on the training ground.

“You’ve got the fans here, a great pitch, it’s a competitive game.

“Let’s take it seriously and make the most of it.

“I think we could have scored a couple more, we had three or four clear chances.

“Shorts (Craig Short) told us to be very aggressive in our press, that’s what we practiced.

“They’re young, but they’re quality players, so they’re going to have spells.

“I thought we managed it well.”

It was a proud night for United’s academy, with home debuts for 17-year-olds Josh Johnson and Josh Anifowose and James Golding, also 17, playing his first senior game.

Meanwhile, it was a chance for more experienced members of the squad to show they should be getting more minutes.

Gorrin has been in and out of the side in Sky Bet League One, but insists he will always be a positive force in the dressing room.

He said: “I want Oxford to do well and I’ll always support the boys.

“When I’m playing they’re supporting me, so when I’m not playing I’m supporting them.

“It makes us different from a lot of teams in this league, we have quality players but we’re all in this together.

“The gaffer always explains his reasons behind it – all you can do is accept it and perform to the best of your ability and get your place back.”