Match Report


Sat 19 Sep 09

Two penalties for the U's were the icing on the cake of a comfortable performance as they got Aidy Boothroyd's home games off to a winning start.

With debutant Kayode Odejayi unplayable up front, the U's scored two spot kicks through Kevin Lisbie - after the front man had missed one just before grabbing his first.

That victory, which turned out to be a simple one in the end, ensures that the U's stay in the thick of the play-off pack as the season begins to take shape. 

The U's first chance came with eleven minutes on the clock. Odejayi did well to hold the ball and lay it out to Wordsworth. He in turn put in a fine cross which just eluded the leaping Platt and the stooping Lisbie as it made its way across goal. That was followed quickly by the next chance of the game. Again Odejayi played his part and laid it into Platt just inside the box. Whilst his touch saw the ball go away from him, O'Toole stepped onto it to drive just wide. The home team were beginning to build up a spell of pressure, but the visitors responded in kind and they nearly scored when Hartley was free at the far post to head towards goal. It seemed destined to find the top corner, but Williams clawed it clear with a fine stop. But it was the U's who were having the more clear cut chances. With nineteen gone in the first half, the ball was swung into the near post and Odejayi darted his header just wide of post.

Two minutes later and Lisbie worked his magic down the right hand side to swing over another cross. Platt was the man to meet it this time, but watched on in agony as his header flew over the bar. The U's were getting plenty of centres into the area, but it was through the middle that they had their next chance.

More good work from Lisbie saw the ball fed to O'Toole and as the midfielder composed himself to make a decision, he smashed in a left footed shot that Flinders clubbed away from danger. Wordsworth was enjoying an interesting battle with Haslam down the U's left and one run by the Colchester man saw him send in a low cross that appeared to clip the full back's arm as it went for a corner - but the referee had no interest in a penalty kick. The U's then went close with twelvfe minutes of the first half remaining, Platt knocking on for Odejayi who lashed a fierce shot into the side netting, only for the linesman's flag to go up for offside.

And whilst the U's were having the better of the first half, Hartlepool had their occasional moments. Brown escaped the offside trap and forced another fine stop from Williams, with the keeper using his feet to block.

The U's next went close with eight minutes left of the first half. It looked like a cross might drop to O'Toole, but he worked it back to Fox who curled in an effort that had Flinders floundering as it went wide of the post.

They then got a penalty not long afterwards as Odejayi was fouled by Collins. However, they forewent the chance to take the lead as Lisbie's spot kick clipped the crossbar and went over, much to the relief of the small travelling army.

However, they got a second one a minute before the break as the unplayable Odejayi was hauled down to the ground as he held onto the ball. This time Lisbie made no mistake, putting it the same side and just beyond the despairing dive of Flinders, who got a hand to the ball as it went in.

The penalty scorer almost helped the U's to a second within seconds of the restart. He escaped down the right and sent over a low cross that Collins sent away from danger.

But he got another chance from the spot after 47 minutes after a handball from Liddle in the area. There was once again a touch of mind games from the keeper, but Lisbie went the other way to make it 2-0.

Just before the hour mark, the visitors made their first change by introducing by taking off McSweeney and replacing him with Bjornsson as they tried to get back into the game.

O'Toole was playing a key role in the heart of midfield for the U's, looking all the better for the two previous ninety minutes he had got under his belt.

Midway through the second half, a quickly taken free kick sent Odejayi in on goal, but Flinders showed strong hands to force the fiercely struck ball away from the target.

There was then a fracas as Monkhouse first took out Lisbie as he held up the ball, and then slapped an arm at White as he tried to collect the loose ball. Angry U's players flew over to defend their team-mates as manager Boothroyd tried to calm it down.

The winger was only shown a yellow by the referee for his role in starting the coming together, and Tierney also was booked for joining in. Pools manager Turner made his own decision on the incident though, replacing him with Humphries not long after play had restarted. At the time, he completed his substitutions by bringing on Boyd for Behan. Lisbie then got in once again down the right hand side and, with the sniff of a hat-trick in his nostrils, he bore down on goal rather than squaring the ball. Hartley was the man to get back in and stop him getting his strike away. Platt was seeing more of the ball in the second half and knocked it down nicely for Wordsworth. The midfielder strode through to earn himself a position to shoot, but blazed over the bar. The U's were looking comfortable as the game entered the final ten minutes and withdrew star man Odejayi for the returning Gillespie for his first senior side action since March. And he nearly won the U's fourth penalty of the day as he wrestled his way around the defender and was pushed out of the way.

A rare Hartlepool chance came with five minutes remaining, as Boyd wriggled his way clear in midfield and smacked in a shot that Williams was happy to watch go on its way.

The U's made their final changes with two minutes remaining, bringing on youngster Tom Bender for the last moments of the game.

In doing so, he became the second youngest ever player to represent the club at 16 years and 243 days, after Lindsay Smith who made his debut aged 16 years and 214 days against Grimsby in 1971.

Phil Ifil was the U's other substitute, making his first team return and his first appearance of the new season.

And the two subs ensured that the U's got over the finishing line for their third home victory of the season.

U's: Williams, White, Okuonghae, Batth, Tierney, Lisbie (Ifil 88), Fox, O'Toole, Wordsworth (Bender 88), Platt, Odejayi (Gillespie 80)

Subs: Cousins, Heath, Hackney, Vernon  
    Data provided by Press Association

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