Fantastic four goal display from City
A stunning double from Jamie Cureton helped the Grecians to an impressive 4-2 win at the Kassam this afternoon, their fourth consecutive league victory.
The 37-year-old opened the scoring on 11 minutes when he dashed forward from his own half before lashing a shot into the top corner.
Scot Bennett then doubled the away side’s lead with a diving header to set City on course for their third away win of the season, beating last season’s total just four weeks in to the new campaign.
Cureton then notched his fifth of the season on 50 minutes as he flew past his marker before clipping the ball past Jamie Clarke to delight the 695 travelling fans.
Oxford worked their way back into the game thanks to goals from Jake Foster-Caskey and Alfie Potter before John O’Flynn capped off a fine team and individual display by drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.
Paul Tisdale made one change from the side that beat Burton seven days ago, O'Flynn starting in place of Alan Gow who seems set for a week or two on the sidelines picking up a slight thigh strain on Tuesday night. Elliott Chamberlain's bright performance on Tuesday night earned him a place on the bench.
City, wearing their blue away shirt again, took the lead on 10 minutes thanks to a lightning counter attack. After some Oxford pressure, Bennett won the ball and sent it to Cureton who, with no yellow shirt around him, bombed forward from inside his own half. And with Sercombe dragging his marker away to the right Cureton was allowed to keep going and keep going with the defenders knowing if they lunged in Curo would tee up Sercombe. He was allowed to continue through the heart of the defence before unleashing a right footed rocket right into the top corner from 18 yards.
Even without his usual strike partner, Cureton was a real thorn in Oxford's side all afternoon and you could sense the relief amongst the home support when he was eventually replaced.
The away side countered again three minutes later, this time it was O'Flynn racing forward, but his chip was comfortably into the arms of Ryan Clarke.
Cureton had a sighter on 17 minutes but his lob flew over the bar. And on 23 minutes there was another decent chance for the Grecians when Arron Davies swung in a free-kick which O'Flynn knocked back at the far post and Coles headed over the bar.
Just two minutes later the lead was doubled when two youth products combined to devastating effect. City won a corner when Clarke couldn't hold Cureton's effort and it was swung into the box by Sercombe and met by the diving head of Bennett for his first of the season.
The home fans thought they'd been thrown a lifeline when Jeremy Simpson's whistle blew after Kevin Amankwaah challenged Sean Rigg inside the box but it was to signal an offside, much to the fury of the home fans.
The second half began with Deane Smalley forcing Artur Krysiak into his first save of the afternoon with a low drive that the Pole pushed round the post. At the other end Davies dummied an Amankwaah pass into the path of Cureton who shot wide.
But he'd get his second just a minute later with another lovely strike. A lovely flick from O'Flynn sent the ball towards the 37-year-old and he cushioned it superbly and knocked the ball through Michael Raynes before racing past him before clipping the ball past the keeper and watching it role into the corner.
On 54 minutes the home side had a life line when Craig Woodman fouled rampaging right-back Damien Batt inside the box and Jake Foster-Caskey fired his penalty down the middle with Krysiak diving to his left. It was the first goal City had conceded in 396 minutes.
Cureton, who felt a tight hamstring, then made way for Guillem Bauza.
But the home side's tails were up and they made it 2-3 on 63 minutes. Jon-Paul Pittman headed the ball back from the back post after a deep free-kick and Alfie Potter claimed he touched the ball home on the line. A really messy goal from City's perspective and it seems likely it was an own goal from Woodman.
And Oxford really should have drawn level minutes later when Pittman knocked the ball across goal and Smalley put the ball over the bar when very well placed.
City scored at the perfect time just as the home side were looking like they’d pull off a stunning come-back. Sercombe, sensational throughout, took the ball down the right and sent a clipped ball over the top towards O'Flynn. Jake Wright seemed to have won it but the Irishman pinched the ball off him, composed himself and riffled a low drive across goal into the bottom corner before racing to celebrate infront of the delirious supporters.
City's old nemesis James Constable was then summoned from the bench and was soon involved in the thick of the action, hitting the side netting on 75 minutes.
And a minute later Krysiak made a smart save to deny Potter's drive as the teams second and third in League Two put on a real show.
Bennett then had a chance for his second of the afternoon after Davies played a one-two with Oakley from a short corner and a perfect cross was met by City’s number four but his header bounced an inch from the base of the post.
Constable then picked up two yellows in a matter of seconds, the second involving a tangle with Woodman on 81 minutes and from then on in there was no question where the points were heading.
The fantastic Flynney was then withdrawn for Tommy Doherty to applause from all three sides of the ground.
Sercombe had two late chances to get the goal his performance deserved as City played out the final minutes to oles from the travelling support.
It was a fantastic away performance from the Grecians with O'Flynn and Cureton setting the tone with their hard-working displays upfront. Bennett and Sercombe in particular excelled in midfield while Coles and Baldwin certainly played their part. As did the 695 travelling fans who made themselves heard on the far side in the sunshine.
So City remain second and we seem to have our away set-up down to a tee with nine points and nine goals from the first three games on the road. This was a lesson in counter-attacking football and the manner of the victory will leave the squad on a real high ahead of the visit of York to St James Park on Saturday.