Match Report


Tue 24 Nov 09

Two goals in the first fifteen minutes were enough for the U's to pick up yet another home win and move back up to third in the League One table.

When the second of those goals went in, it looked like it might be a case of how many the U's would get, but rather than rolling over, Stockport gave the U's a defensive test as the game wore on.

The home side had occasional opportunities during the game, but they were given a good examination of their defensive capabilities by a lively attacking display by the visitors.

But whilst the U's didn't quite hit the heights of those opening exchanges, and the visitors saw plenty of possession, Ben Williams didn't have too much to do and they earned another big three points to continue to be amongst the pace setters in the division.

The U's made two changes from the side that had drawn with Oldham on Saturday. Phil Ifil came in to replace the suspended Marc Tierney, whilst Paul Reid made his first start since March as he came into the side to replace Danny Batth, who dropped to the substitutes' bench.

The visitors were happy to start at a slow tempo early on to try and take the sting out of the U's play, but Lisbie's persistence down the right was already an outlet in the early stages of the game.

O'Toole escaped a booking for a heavy foul on the halfway line, but it remained the U's looking the more dangerous in the first ten minutes as they took the lead just as that interval arrived.

A short corner saw the U's work it between Wordsworth and Fox, before the former threw the ball into the box and Lisbie was on hand to turn a close range header past the helpless Fon Williams.

They nearly doubled their advantage not long afterwards as Reid spotted the Hatters keeper slightly off his line and tried to lob him, with his effort going just over the crossbar. But they did manage to get their second on 15 minutes. Platt did superbly to hold the ball up on the edge of the box and lay it off to the onrushing Odejayi. He smacked in a firm shot which Fon Williams should have held but spilled and it just ran far enough for the in-form Platt to grab his fourth in four games, taking his season's tally to seven.

The U's were rampant at this point and, from another corner, first Lisbie with a missed header and then Wordsworth with a blocked shot nearly got the U's third as the Hatters struggled to keep them at bay. The home side's next chance came midway through the half as some good approach play by first Fox and then Wordsworth saw the ball ping around the area before finally being cleared under some good pressure by the U's.

Urged on by their manager from the sidelines, the U's were hunting down the ball with some panache, giving Stockport no time on the ball as they sought the match-sealing third goal. It was meaning the U's were seeing plenty of the ball in the final third and Lisbie blazed an effort over midway through the half. However, Turnbull had the visitors best chance of the half as he forced Williams to tip the ball over the bar on 28 minutes with a fierce shot. The U's had just lost their way a little in the middle third of the half, but they could have had a third as the half hour mark arrived. Good play by Lisbie saw him wriggle his way to send a cross over, but Wordsworth's left foot sidefoot went wide of the post with the keeper wrong-footed. Stockport were seeing more of the ball as the half went on, but the U's continued to defend manfully with White excellent in the left back position against the lively Ribiero.
And the home fans urged their team to get back into the form that had seen them dominate the early stages as wide man Ribiero sent over a cross that Thompson flashed across goal with a near post shot. For all of the visitors' recovery, it was the U's who were next to go close as Lisbie made a pest of himself on the edge of the box and again Fox was quickest to react as he smashed in a low drive that beat the keeper, but went just the wrong side of the post. The U's were beginning to respond and Odejayi did well to flick the ball back to Fox, who in turn fed Lisbie and Ifil, with the latter's cross headed behind for a corner.

The set piece was cleared for a throw, which was itself cleared to the edge of the box for Ifil to smack a shot over the bar. And the U's nearly got their third in injury time as Platt did well to put Wordsworth in and his ball to the edge of the box was well intercepted just in time as Fox went to strike the ball. They started in exactly the same vein after the break as some patient approach play ended with O'Toole driving in a left footed shot that seemed destined to roar into the top corner until a world class save from Fon Williams tipped the ball over the bar. The visitors were still a threat though and a cross from 14 almost found Thompson at the far post, but he could only head his effort skywards, allowing the U's to eventually get the ball clear.

They repeated the feat from the other side as Ribiero drilled a cross in at the near post and again Thompson went close to converting before Williams intervened to allow Okuonghae to clear behind. The U's made their first change five minutes after the restart as they looked to get back on top in the game, as Wordsworth - who had earlier pulled up slightly - was replaced by Hackney for the final the last 40 minutes of the game. It almost paid dividends as the U's again got forward. Hackney's persistence won the ball for Lisbie who jet-heeled his way towards goal to lay in a low cross to Platt who moved the ball past his man and struck a shot that was just intercepted by the defender in the nick of time, the ball rolling agonisingly wide of the post from a U's point of view. The U's crowd in the South Stand were doing their bit to lift their players as the hour mark arrived, but it was the visitors who went close next as the ball dropped to the impressive Griffin on the far post and it required a brave block by Ifil to send the shot away for a corner. The U's couldn't quite retain the ball well enough to get out at the back, and they made their second change of the half on 66 minutes as Platt was replaced with the fresh legs of Gillespie for the remainder of the match. The substitute almost had an immediate impact. The ball was played forward towards Odejayi and he dropped the ball down into the striker's path who, with a waft of his left foot, sliced an effort just beyond the far post. At the other end, the excellent Ribiero sent over another dangerous cross that eluded five bodies in the box as it went through all their legs and away to safety. From a corner not long afterwards, the ball just eluded Thompson from close range. The U's then completed their substitutions on 71 minutes, with the impressive Fox being replaced by Izzet as the home side attempted to shore up their midfield. The home side hadn't caused many problems going forwards in the second half and Izzet followed Griffin into the book for a foul in midfield which even many in the Stockport press thought was a fair tackle by the U's man. The frustrations in the home crowd were starting to rise as their side struggled to retain their stranglehold on the game, but as the game entered its final ten minutes, the U's did begin to get back on the front foot. Ribiero got in once again on 87 minutes and went to strike in a shot which saw him denied by White just in the nick of time. The U's then broke from the resultant corner to see Gillespie, Lisbie and Hackney break away at pace, with the latter of the three striking in a shot that was well blocked just as it looked like it might find a path to goal.

And the dying stages of the game passed without too many problems, as the U's got themselves over the finishing line for another important three points. U's: Williams, Ifil, Reid, Okuonghae, White, Lisbie, Fox (Izzet), O'Toole, Wordsworth (Hackney), Platt (Gillespie), Odejayi

Subs: Cousins, Batth, Heath, Thomas
    Data provided by Press Association

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