BOTH managers of North Leigh and Oxford United paid tribute to Lloyd Calcutt after an emotional night at Eynsham Park.

The friendly between the two sides was arranged as a means of celebrating the life of the Witney resident, who died in January after contracting Covid-19.

His death, at aged just 38, sent shockwaves throughout the football community with Calcutt a familiar face at both clubs, home and away.

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North Leigh manager Eddie Odhiambo, a former United defender, said having fans inside the ground made the occasion even more special.

He said: “There was a couple of amazing things tonight.

“The fact there was supporters here to witness the hard work the players have put in, and to witness the hard work and efforts of the club.

“Even more significant was what was symbolised by the awarding of the memorial trophy by Lloyd’s family.

“It was an emotional moment, football does help us but our families help us even more.

“It was a fitting tribute and I hope the family enjoyed it because they deserve it.”

North Leigh fought back after conceding two early goals, and in the second half, threatened a comeback against the youthful U’s.

Odhiambo was proud of his players, particularly as it was their first match of pre-season.

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He said: “In terms of the performance, we learnt a lot in terms of how fit we are.

“It was our first game in pre-season so there was always going to be some snagging today.

“We got to grips better in the second half, we problem solved well – it took longer than I would’ve liked but it was a much more composed and assured performance in the second half.”

Former United defender Darren Purse stepped up to lead the Under 19s last month.

He is working alongside another ex-player, winger Chris Hackett, after coaching the Under 16s last season.

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Purse echoed Odhiambo’s sentiments, and said he hoped the match made Lloyd’s family proud.

He said: “The fans are the most important part of any football club and when you get fans involved at non-league clubs like Lloyd was, when something really bad happens, it’s tragic.

“It’s only fair that we came out here and honoured him, and that’s what we’ve done today.

“The football is secondary to Lloyd’s family and how they’ll be feeling – hopefully the game has made them feel proud and this can become a regular occurrence because it’s been a fantastic night.”

On his team’s performance, he said: “I thought the boys were fantastic, that was our first proper game.

“If we’d taken our chances we’d probably have gone on and won by more.”