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Oxford United 4 Leeds United 3: Roberts strikes but Whites pay for poor first half

Leeds United striker Tyler Roberts
Leeds United striker Tyler Roberts
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A disappointing first half condemned an inexperienced Leeds United team to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Oxford United.

Oxford struck three times before the break to set up victory over a weakened Leeds side on an eventful evening at the Kassam Stadium.

United head coach Marcelo Bielsa left out a raft of older players and Oxford’s nous told as a spate of chances fell to Karl Robinson’s side before the interval.

Two James Henry strikes and a neat finish from Rob Hall put them out of reach before the break, taking advantage of repeated errors in Bielsa’s defence.

Tyler Roberts reduced the deficit with his first Leeds goal shortly after the break but Jon Obika re-established Oxford’s three-goal advantage and United were unable to force a draw despite

Lewis Baker and Jack Clarke dragging them back into contention.

Henry opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Oriol Rey lost possession to Hall, allowing the winger to feed the ball to the edge of the box. Henry dispatched it with a low shot into the far corner.

Hall then struck himself on 26 minutes after being played into the box and riding a tackle and Henry was on hand to snatch his second of the game two minutes before the break, profiting from close range after Will Huffer spilled a shot from Jon Obika.

Leeds had seen the occasional half-chance with Jamie Shackleton and Ronaldo Vieira driving shots over the crossbar but Bielsa’s side carried too little threat and he introduced Roberts and Ryan Edmondson from the bench at the start of the second half. Goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, who started the game as a substitute, made his first appearance by replacing Huffer.

Roberts found the net nine minutes into the second period, curling the ball in off the far post before Obika and Baker traded sliding efforts from close range in the 61st and 63rd minute respectively.

Edmondson then had an effort ruled out for offside but Clarke kept the hosts on their toes in the closing stages by smashing in a low drive on 72 minutes.

Oxford United: Eastwood, Garbutt, Dickie (Raglan 81), Hall, Brannagan (Nelson 75), Carruthers (Baptiste 75), Norman, Ruffels (Carroll 82), Mousinho, Henry (Mackie 70), Obika (Lopes 83). Subs (not used): Shearer, Napa, Raglan, Long.

Leeds United: Huffer (Blackman 46), Shackleton, Diaz, Rey, Pearce, Vieira, Ideguchi (Roberts 46), Baker, Klich, Clarke, Dalby (Edmondson 46). Subs (not used): Stevens.

Referee: Anthony Coggins

Attendance: 4,727