WES Thomas boosted his confidence levels with two goals, but Oxford United’s defending in the 3-3 draw at Barnet was a cause for concern a week before the start of the season.

The Sky Bet League Two hosts were 2-0 up inside 11 minutes and could have wrapped up the game in the opening half hour.

But Thomas’s double – a diving header from Alex MacDonald’s cross just before the break and a fierce shot a minute after the restart – got the visitors back on track.

It gave the striker a well-timed surge in belief ahead of Saturday’s League One opener at home to Chesterfield.

He said: “It’s nice to get a couple of goals in the last pre-season game and take that into the season.

“I’ve been doing a bit of shooting every day in training, so it’s good that it’s paying off.

“Macca managed to put in a lovely cross and all I had to do was guide it in.“They are the sort of balls I thrive on.

“With the second one I managed to get past my man and just wanted to get it on target.

“It took a bit of a wobble and somehow found its way into the back of the net.

“I’m just happy I managed to get two goals.”

If that was the main positive to come out of the game, the way Barnet striker John Akinde dominated United’s back four was a worry.

He made it 2-0 with an excellent finish and was twice fouled in the area after the break, scoring from the second penalty to put Barnet 3-2 up.

Although Dan Crowley tapped in after debutant Kane Hemmings hit the woodwork late on to ensure United avoided a third straight friendly defeat, head coach Michael Appleton admitted the display was very mixed.

He said: “The result speaks for itself. At times, certainly in the second half, we were very good going forward and had a bit of purpose about us, but I thought defensively we were very poor.

“Akinde is a real handful and he proved that last year with the goals he got to keep them in the division.

“We just didn’t do the basics well enough for about a 15-minute period.

“They scored two and probably could’ve had another couple if it wasn’t for decent saves from Simon Eastwood.

“But I’d rather get it out of the way this Saturday rather than next Saturday.”