Oxford raise the Roofe and eliminate Swansea from FA Cup
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 10, 2016
Oxford United 3-2 Swansea City
- Swans endure early Oxford pressure
- Montero scores cool opener against run of play
- Sercombe spot-kick levels just before half-time
- Roofe completes United turnaround after interval
- Oxford and Roofe strike again on the counter
- Gomis sets up grandstand finish, but Swansea lose
Oxford punt pays off against Swans
League Two promotion chasers Oxford United inflicted the first Premier League giant-killing of this year’s FA Cup third round, as they knocked out Swansea City thanks to a terrific turnaround courtesy of key performers Liam Sercombe and Kemar Roofe.
Ecuador international Jefferson Montero struck the opener midway through the first-half at the Kassam Stadium, but interim Swans boss Alan Curtis saw collapse come over his much-changed side in a thrilling advert for the world’s oldest knockout football competition.
Sercombe converted from the spot just before the interval when a clumsy Kyle Bartley tackle saw the hosts awarded a penalty, and then Roofe struck twice before the hour when play resumed. Bafetimbi Gomis ended his goal drought, but the home team hung on for a famous win.
Appleton’s attacking philosophy
Oxford gave an excellent account of themselves in this FA Cup tie under Michael Appleton, however, and Swansea’s opener came against the run of play following a spell of concerted pressure from their hosts.
United took full advantage of an almost entirely altered Swans XI to have the better of early exchanges. With the visitors initially wasteful through Montero and Jonjo Shelvey, who is the subject mounting speculation that his future lies away from the Liberty Stadium, Oxford asked a lot of questions offensively.
Roofe saw an early header drop wide, before forcing Kristoffer Nordfeldt into save after chesting down a simple throw in to turn and run at the opposition. Ryan Taylor also worked the Swansea stopper, who had to tip a glancing header over when the former Portsmouth forward was found by Chris Maguire.
Magic from Montero makes opener
Montero’s infield incursion off the left flank paid off, as he coolly slotted past Sam Slocombe with a backheel after a one-two with fellow winger Marvin Emnes, as the Swans snuck into the lead midway through the first 45.
Rotherham United-owned attacker Maguire worked an opening as Oxford responded to falling behind, but Nordfeldt was once again in the way. Sellable Swansea asset Shelvey, meanwhile, had two further first-half efforts, and was getting closer to the target down the other end.
John Lundstram lashed a long-range effort wide as Appleton’s outfit continued to attack, and were rewarded on the stroke of half-time when referee Kevin Friend adjudged Bartley to have brought down Alex MacDonald in the box. Sercombe put the penalty straight down the middle and Oxford went in level.
Rampant Roofe leaves Curtis reeling
Maguire skied an effort when the Swans started the second-half sluggishly, but they were punished when Roofe raised the Kassam roof with a stunning strike.
Cutting inside from a similar area to where Montero started the opener, Appleton acolyte Roofe rifled the ball home into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
A stunning counter-attack then appeared to put this tie to bed. Roofe raced clear for his second and to seemingly seal victory for Appleton’s awesome outfit, leaving Swansea to protest in vain that there was a push on Jack Cork.
Gomis goal gives grandstand finish
Gomis survived a hint of offside to end his barren spell by slotting under Slocombe when fed by Cork in the left channel and make the last quarter interesting at 3-2.
The Oxford keeper had to thwart Montero when he got in front of his marker amidst a grandstand finish. Play became stretched as Oxford managed to hang on for a famous victory, with sub Chris O’Dowd seeing a late effort palmed over by Nordfeldt.
Curtis has won just one of six matches in charge of Swansea now, but an early elimination from the FA Cup may be a blessing in disguise as Coral make the Welsh side 10/3 chances to be relegated and they can now focus upon staving off the drop.