Despite a quiet first half, Exeter’s 1s went home happy after a straightforward 5-0 victory over Oxford. The game started with both defences at the top of their game with no shots on target after 10 minutes. Despite that, it was Exeter who were getting the better of the opportunities. The hosts managed to force the ball through the defence before the first 20 minutes were up, but the Oxford keeper saved easily. Soon afterwards, another chance was foiled by Oxford’s defender, who charged down the cross.
Tom Watson was nearly found with a through ball but it eluded his lunge, before a lovely cross was whipped in, evading all of the sticks in the middle, and Ben Francis could only blaze over from close range.Oxford were doing a fine job of closing off all the available openings, but moments after another fine interception, the ball was scooped in by Conor Caplan to put Exeter 1-0 up just ahead of half time.
Exeter were firmly on top, but thus far the finishing had been lower than their usual high standards
The second half began with more of the same – Exeter soon won themselves a penalty corner after a foul stopped an impressive run by Jack Simmons. Francis soon fed him again for a shot, but it was blocked well by the goalkeeper.
Exeter were firmly on top, but thus far the finishing had been lower than their usual high standards. Mark Loughrey, however, then slammed home from close range to make it 2-0 to the Green Army. Although Oxford then obtained a penalty corner, a smart save from goalkeeper Jack Bannister saw Exeter then score from their own penalty corner via Noah Sharples.
The floodgates were beginning to open, and Francis capitalised by scoring a fourth. As the game petered out towards the end, and Oxford managed a missed penalty corner, Captain Ed Fleet rounded off a fine move to score with the final touch of the match.
Poised at the top of BUCS ‘Premier A’, next week’s encounter against Bath may be crucial in Exeter’s quest for the title.