TOP ROOFE HELPS U’S STING BEES
ASK Kemar Roofe if it was a difficult decision to leave West Brom this summer and he replies with an answer as clinical as his stunning 40-yard lob against Brentford in midweek – No.
The Walsall-born midfielder came through the ranks at the Hawthorns, but was never able to break into first-team contention. Instead, he has filled the role of loan ranger – his travels have taken in Iceland’s Vikingur Reykjavic, Northampton, Cheltenham, Colchester and Oxford United.
Six goals in 16 appearances for Oxford in the latter part of last season were enough to persuade the U’s to sign him on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
It meant leaving a top-flight club for one in the Football League basement, but Roofe had no qualms.
“I just want to play football,” said the 22-year-old. “I wasn’t playing football at all at West Brom, but I came here on loan last season and enjoyed myself and everyone’s excited about this season.”
And while Roofe admits he would love to one day step out in the Premier League’s bright lights, he’s more than happy to learn his trade lower down – and spectacular goals like the one he netted against the Bees in his side’s stunning 4-0 Capital One Cup win won’t do his profile any harm.
“Originally I was going to hit it first time, I knew the keeper was off his line,” he said, “but I felt I had enough time to take a touch, steady myself and give it a go. I couldn’t have hit it any better – it’s my best goal.”
Liam Sercombe, Danny Hylton and Roofe all netted in a mesmerising opening 12 minutes as unchanged Oxford all but wrapped up victory against the shellshocked Championship outfit, who fielded a completely different side from Saturday’s league opener against Ipswich. And centreback Johnny Mullins put the icing on the cake with the fourth in the second half to complete the rout for Michael Appleton’s men.
Roofe said a rapid start was part of Oxford’s gameplan to shock the Bees’ rookies.
“We prepared the whole of pre-season on the training field for games like this and starts like this,” he added. “They are a bigger team and we couldn’t let them breathe, give them time and space.We had to be in their faces.
“It wasn’t individuals out there for us, it was the whole 11 and the subs as well. Everyone played their part.”
It wasn’t a great week for Championship teams in the League Cup as nine made an early exit.
Aside from Oxford, three other League Two sides took second tier scalps. Portsmouth edged out Derby County 2-1 with goals from Adam McGurk and substitute Conor Chaplin, while Liam Noble struck twice as Notts County won by the same score at Huddersfield. Jack Marriott netted two in Luton’s excellent 3-1 victory against Bristol City.
Five Championship clubs fell to League One opposition. Tom Bradshaw continued his fine form from last season with a hat-trick as Walsall overcame Nottingham Forest 4-3 in a thriller, while James Collins and Tyrone Barnett were on target for Shrewsbury in their shock win at Blackburn.
Port Vale shocked Burnley 1-0 with an 82nd minute Byron Moore winner, Matt Palmer netted on 87 minutes as Burton surprised hosts Bolton by the same score and Doncaster Rovers rounded off the first round in dramatic fashion by beating Leeds 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw on Thursday night.
League Two sides also got the better of League One opposition. League new-boys Barnet pulled off an excellent 2-1 victory at Millwall with goals from John Akinde, from the penalty spot, and Andy Yiadom.
Jabo Ibehre notched two goals as Carlisle saw off Chesterfield 3-1 in extra-time, Hartlepool continued their revival under Ronnie Moore with a 1-0 win at Fleetwood courtesy of the experienced Billy Paynter and Northampton hammered Blackpool 3-0 with goals from Chris Hackett, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sam Hoskins.
Alex Nicholls and David Wheeler were on the mark as Paul Tisdale’s Exeter triumphed 2-1 at Swindon and York knocked out 2013 finalists Bradford City 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
HERE WE GO: Adam McGurk nets Portsmouth’s opener against Derby
OH YES! Kemar Roofe celebrates his wonder strike