Torquay United 1 (Chapell 70) Oxford United 3 (Smalley 48, Constable 61, Hall 78)

Herald Series: Goal machine Deane Smalley flies through the air in acrobatic fashion to open Oxford United's account in the 3-1 win at Torquay Goal machine Deane Smalley flies through the air in acrobatic fashion to open Oxford United's account in the 3-1 win at Torquay

OXFORD United maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with victory in a helter-skelter game at Torquay United.

The Gulls, with the wind in their favour, pinned the visitors back in the first half without making a breakthrough against a determined defence, led by Jake Wright.

Deane Smalley opened the scoring early in the second half and James Constable added a second with a terrific strike.

Jordan Chapell pulled a goal back for Torquay to briefly worry the league leaders, who wrapped up the win via Asa Hall.

It was a hard-earned win, but the U's did lose Sean Rigg and Alfie Potter to injuries.

Dave Kitson was unable to shrug off a shoulder injury and missed out, so Scott Davies came in for the only change.

He slotted in on the right of a four-man midfield, with Potter switching into a role just behind Smalley.

The visitors almost made a flying start, as a ball forward from Tom Newey found Davies in the box after just 15 seconds.

He turned down a shooting chance and instead tried to find Potter, but scuffed the pass and Torquay cleared.

It was part of a frantic opening few minutes, with a wet, skiddy pitch and stiff wind combining to cause problems for both defences.

United were playing into the breeze and found it difficult to clear their lines, inviting Torquay forward.

When they were able to string some passes together, the visitors were a threat on the break against a back four which kept a high line.

It almost cost Torquay on 21 minutes, when Davies threaded a cute ball into Smalley, who rounded Martin Rice and scored.

The assistant quickly raised his flag, but it looked a very tight decision.

Oxford's progress was halted when they were forced into a change midway through the half.

Rigg pulled up clutching a hamstring as he chased a through ball and was immediately replaced by Asa Hall.

The loss appeared to affect the U's, who spent most of the next 20 minutes with their backs to the wall.

Torquay swarmed forward and the visitors worked very hard just to stay in the game, but did a good job to limit the chances.

They finished the half strongly and only a header off the line by a superbly positioned Jake Wright denied a goal for Billy Bodin after Ryan Clarke badly misjudged a cross in the wind.

The U's goalkeeper made amends in stoppage time when he got down brilliantly to keep out a low drive from Courtney Cameron.

Wright was in the right place again to head away from danger as the U's breathed a sigh of relief at the half-time whistle.

Having survived a tough first half, United went ahead less than three minutes after the restart.

Potter forced a corner, from which David Hunt's delivery found Smalley, who steered in from close range for his third goal of the season.

Torquay's response was almost immediate. Within a minute Ball dazzled two defenders by teeing himself up for a thunderous volley which beat Clarke and hit the crossbar.

Clarke turned a Ben Harding shot round the post and Ball had a free-kick ruled out for encroachment as the hosts built up a head of steam.

But again United, having soaked up a spell of pressure, responded with a counter-punch.

Clarke's wind-assisted clearance found Constable, on as a substitute after Potter was forced off with a facial injury.

The striker was isolated on the right channel, so took on a shot from the corner of the area, sending a wonderful volley over Rice and into the net.

Torquay kept going, though, and some quick thinking got them back in the game 20 minutes from time.

A throw caught United cold and allowed Hawley to race forward and cross for Chapell to tap in from close range.

Torquay's optimism lasted just eight minutes, when the two-goal cushion was restored.

Constable slipped in Hall, whose first shot was saved but the midfielder lashed in the rebound to the delight of the away fans.

It finally killed off Torquay's spirit and the final exchanges were negotiated without too much difficulty.

Oxford Utd: Clarke, Hunt, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Davies (Ruffels 88), Whing, Rose, Rigg (Hall 24), Potter (Constable 57), Smalley.

Unused subs: Crocombe, Raynes, Williams, Marsh.

Torquay Utd: Rice, Cruise, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Harding (Lathrope 66), Cameron (Chapell 66), Bodin (Benyon 79), Ball, Hawley.

Unused subs: C Thompson, MacKenzie, Sullivan, N Thompson.

Referee: Graham Salisbury.

Attendance: 3,126 (701 visitors).

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:09pm Sat 17 Aug 13

Chickengeorge44 says...

Still looking good. The injuries are a worry though.

Nice to see Oxford put teams to bed, which hasn't happened for a few years.

9 out of 9. 2 wins away & wins against teams that were relegated last year. All of us would take that.

Cracking start.
Still looking good. The injuries are a worry though. Nice to see Oxford put teams to bed, which hasn't happened for a few years. 9 out of 9. 2 wins away & wins against teams that were relegated last year. All of us would take that. Cracking start. Chickengeorge44

5:18pm Sat 17 Aug 13

Joe1 says...

Really proud. Well done
Really proud. Well done Joe1

5:45pm Sat 17 Aug 13

oldun says...

Brilliant start - same number of points as last season

We must do far better than lose the next six

Come on you U's
Brilliant start - same number of points as last season We must do far better than lose the next six Come on you U's oldun

6:04pm Sat 17 Aug 13

Richard Wickson says...

The injuries are a worry. Potters looked like a broken nose at worst, sorry Alfie, I wouldn't want mine broken either but players do play them. Riggs however looks quite serious and the frequent injuries is a worry. Well deserved win tho after Torquay were clearly the better team in the 1st half and should have been at least 1 goal to the good. How often tho have we spurned first half chances only to lose the game in the second. This team looks positive and once they get their noses in front don't look like losing. The defence looked to have switched off for Torquays goal but the third killed them off. Great win now to keep up this run and not repeat last seasons slump, we won't win them all but it's a solid start and we don't look like losing loads.
The injuries are a worry. Potters looked like a broken nose at worst, sorry Alfie, I wouldn't want mine broken either but players do play them. Riggs however looks quite serious and the frequent injuries is a worry. Well deserved win tho after Torquay were clearly the better team in the 1st half and should have been at least 1 goal to the good. How often tho have we spurned first half chances only to lose the game in the second. This team looks positive and once they get their noses in front don't look like losing. The defence looked to have switched off for Torquays goal but the third killed them off. Great win now to keep up this run and not repeat last seasons slump, we won't win them all but it's a solid start and we don't look like losing loads. Richard Wickson

12:07pm Mon 19 Aug 13

bigchet says...

A GOOD WIN IN DIFFICULT CONDITIONS W3HICH CLARKE IN PARTICULAR FOUND HARDV TO DEAL WITH. CONSTABLES GOAL WAS OUTSTANDING AND ANSWERED SOME OF LAST SEASONS CRITICS WHO FELT WE SHOULD HAVE SOLD HIM ON. I FEEL THAT AT THIS LEVEL HE IS UP WITH THE BEST AROUND. NEXT SATS GAME V WYCOMBE HAS ADDED SPICE NO LETS HOPE THE GOOD FORM CONTINUES.
A GOOD WIN IN DIFFICULT CONDITIONS W3HICH CLARKE IN PARTICULAR FOUND HARDV TO DEAL WITH. CONSTABLES GOAL WAS OUTSTANDING AND ANSWERED SOME OF LAST SEASONS CRITICS WHO FELT WE SHOULD HAVE SOLD HIM ON. I FEEL THAT AT THIS LEVEL HE IS UP WITH THE BEST AROUND. NEXT SATS GAME V WYCOMBE HAS ADDED SPICE NO LETS HOPE THE GOOD FORM CONTINUES. bigchet

2:16pm Mon 19 Aug 13

oldun says...

Nowhere near complacency in any game this season yellows - particularly next Saturday. 3 points please!!
Nowhere near complacency in any game this season yellows - particularly next Saturday. 3 points please!! oldun

11:56am Tue 20 Aug 13

Inkpot says...

Well done lads, keep up the good work on Saturday.
Looks like the six fingered lot from up the A420 have been on in force giving the thumbs down................
.STAY AWAY YOU SCUM !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well done lads, keep up the good work on Saturday. Looks like the six fingered lot from up the A420 have been on in force giving the thumbs down................ .STAY AWAY YOU SCUM !!!!!!!!!!!!! Inkpot

12:36pm Tue 20 Aug 13

oldun says...

Inkpot wrote:
Well done lads, keep up the good work on Saturday.
Looks like the six fingered lot from up the A420 have been on in force giving the thumbs down................

.STAY AWAY YOU SCUM !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you talking about the club which can't beat us? A proper rival not like little Wycombe - high time we put them in their place - tough game (most games will be - come on you Us!)
[quote][p][bold]Inkpot[/bold] wrote: Well done lads, keep up the good work on Saturday. Looks like the six fingered lot from up the A420 have been on in force giving the thumbs down................ .STAY AWAY YOU SCUM !!!!!!!!!!!!![/p][/quote]Are you talking about the club which can't beat us? A proper rival not like little Wycombe - high time we put them in their place - tough game (most games will be - come on you Us!) oldun

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree