Match Report


Sat 26 Sep 09

The U's made it three draws from Aidy Boothroyd's three away games as U's boss, with a 1-1 stalemate at Tranmere.

The home side took the lead on thirty four minutes, with a close range effort from Welsh but a minute later John-Joe O'Toole levelled with his first U's goal.

Neither side could get a winner in the second half and the U's now face two tough home matches, against Charlton and Huddersfield.

Boothroyd named an unchanged starting eleven, which was not surprising given the comfortable win against Hartlepool seven days ago at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

There was only one change on the U's bench, with young winger Medy Elito coming in to take the place of Scott Vernon.

Tranmere boss John Barnes was looking for a change in fortune after losing seven consecutive matches, with only Southampton below them in the table.

Barnes made two changes from the side that lost at Exeter, Daniels and Shuker replacing Collister and Edds.

It was the home side that settled first, with some good football but they were helped by the water that had been put on the pitch in the minutes leading up to kick-off.

On three minutes, the ball zipped up past Batth and Ben Williams managed to palm the ball away from Thomas-Moore before the Tranmere captain could capitalise.

Then, in the sixth minute, the referee decided it was ball to hand and not the other way round as Batth's arm made contact and penalty claims were waved away.

Seconds later, it was the U's Kevin Lisbie who was appealing for a spot kick, as he felt he was hauled down by Cresswell. Again, the referee decided not to point to the spot and play continued.

The best chance to date came on the quarter hour mark, as Michael Ricketts muscled his way past Batth. Williams came to the U's rescue, once more diving to his right to prevent the home side opening the score.

An almost identical chance fell to Kayode Odejayi at the other end, but the U's loanee used his pace instead of strength to get past the last defender. He flicked the ball past the keeper but it cleared the far post.

Lisbie saw a left foot effort fly narrowly over before Moore had a shot saved, with both sides looking to attack at every opportunity.

It was the home side who broke the deadlock, in the thirty fourth minute, from a corner that maybe should have been avoided. The cross from the left drifted over to the far post and with no-one near him, Marc Tierney seemed not to hear Williams' calls to let it run out and headed it out for a corner.

The set piece found McLaren in space and his shot was brilliantly saved by Williams. Unfortunately, the rebound fell to Welsh and from close range, the former Liverpool youngster made no mistake.

The lead didn't last much more than a minute though, with John-Joe O'Toole scoring his first goal in U's colours.

Odejayi once again got the better of his marker and made inroads into the area, while looking for runs from teammates to his left. He spotted O'Toole's run and rolled it across the area. O'Toole did the rest with a firm sidefoot finish to bring the U's level.

And it could have got better for the U's before half time, with Fox's effort deflected at the last second. Magnus Okuonghae should have scored form the resultant corner but headed over after making space for himself at the far post.

The sides went into half time level, with both managers probably expecting a bit more from their respective sides.

It was the U's who started much the brighter in the second period, with three efforts on goal in the first three minutes.

John-Joe could have doubled his goal tally but his volley flew wide before Clive Platt had the home keeper scrambling to save his header.

From the resultant corner, Tranmere didn't learn their lesson from the first half and once again, Okuonghae found himself in space at the far post. His header went back across goal and out for a goal kick.

Tranmere reacted well though and both Moore and Ricketts failed to hit the target with efforts on Williams' goal.

Lisbie then had a header cleared off the line after beating the keeper to a bouncing ball but the play returned to the U's end, with Shuker's drive hitting the side netting.

Shuker then put a free kick wide but the home side were looking a bit nervous about conceding and losing for the eighth consecutive match.

Substitute Matt Heath then got forward but could only knee the ball over with three minutes remaining.

Tranmere had the ball in the net but the home supporters cheers quickly subsided as the flag was raised for an offside.

As the game went into injury time, Odejayi almost scrambled a winner but Daniels in the home goal fell on the ball and preserved the point for Tranmere.

U's: Williams, White, Okuonghae, Batth (Heath 73), Tierney, Lisbie, O'Toole, Fox (Hackney 66), Wordsworth, Odejayi, Platt (Gillespie77).

Subs: Cousins, Ifil, Bender, Elito.
    Data provided by Press Association

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