TOP ROOFE HELPS U’S STING BEES

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By John Lyons

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.

Ex­cited

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.

Pre­pared

“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.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HERE WE GO: Adam McGurk nets Portsmouth’s opener against Derby

PIC­TURE: Ox­ford United

OH YES! Ke­mar Roofe cel­e­brates his won­der strike

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