Oxford United 0

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

(Clarke 28)

Oxford United suffered their first setback of pre-season as Leon Clarke's strike gave Wolverhampton Wanderers a narrow victory at the Kassam Stadium.

The experienced striker fired home the only goal of a closely-contested game on 28 minutes.

Despite the League One champions fielding a youthful line-up, they were by far the strongest side United had faced in pre-season.

The hosts stood up well to the challenge and there were plenty of encouraging signs, but they clearly lacked firepower in the final third.

Michael Appleton, taking charge at the Kassam Stadium for the first time, started all four of United's summer signings.

George Long got the nod in goal, while Joe Riley began at right back 24 hours after signing.

Michael Collins played in midfield, with Danny Hylton leading the line up front.

United shaded a low-key start and created the first decent sight of goal on 17 minutes.

Hylton intelligently laid off a Tom Newey throw into the path of Danny Rose, who forced Wolves goalkeeper Aaron McCarey into a smart save with a right-footed volley.

But the hosts suffered a double blow midway through the half.

Banbury Cake:

New full back Joe Riley surges forward for United against Wolves

Firstly they lost Mullins to an injury, which the centre back appeared to pick up earlier in the half, replaced by Jake Wright.

The skipper had barely been on the field a minute when Wolves opened the scoring.

Eusebio Bancessi stormed forward and slipped a pass into Clarke, who beat Long with a low shot.

It was a rare foray forward for the visitors, as United kept the ball well.

But, perhaps unsurprisingly given Appleton's desire to bring in two or three forwards, they lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

United did finish the half well, sparking into life as the floodlights belatedly came on.

McCarey spilled an effort from Callum O'Dowda, while on the stroke of half-time Hylton had an equaliser chalked off after Rose, who provided the cross, strayed offside.

Wolves were first to threaten after the break.

Long made a superb save to tip over a fierce first-time shot from James Henry.

Clear chances were at a premium for most of the half, as Wolves increasingly looked comfortable on the ball.

United got an injection of energy with a triple substitution on 74 minutes.

Banbury Cake:

New U’s keeper George Long leaps to collect the ball

Jon Meades, David Hunt and James Roberts were all quickly involved in a high-quality spell of passing football which opened up Wolves, who scrambled to concede a corner.

Wolves were pinned back in the closing stages, without McCarey being stretched as United were unable to find a way through before the final whistle.

They host Bournemouth in the final warm-up game this weekend, by which time they will hope to have some more options going forward.

Oxford Utd: G Long, Riley, Raynes, Mullins, Newey, Collins, Ruffels, Humphreys, Rose, O'Dowda, Hylton. Subs used: Wright (Mullins 27), Meades (Humphreys 74), Hunt (Riley 74), Roberts (Hylton 74), Shama (O'Dowda 80), Grant (Newey 89) Subs not used: Bevans, Crocombe, S Long, Ashby, Hawtin.

Wolverhampton Wand: McCarey, Foley, Ebanks-Landell, Iorfa, Ward, Davis, Price, Bancessi (Forde 61), Henry, Clarke, McAlinden. Unused subs: Weeks, O'Hanlon, Torras, Keita, Dutton.

Referee: John Busby.

Attendance: 2,727 (736 visitors).