Match Report

 

Sat 05 Dec 09


The U's made it eight of ten in front of their own supporters this season with a fine performance on Saturday afternoon.

Looking for a reaction from his players after the defeat to Brentford in midweek and he got that in some style against Rovers as Kevin Lisbie's goal made the difference.

The U's were stout in defence, composed in midfield and powerful in attack as they put the visitors to the sword.

They may only have scored one, but could have had more as Aidy Boothroyd's men kept pace with the teams above them and - just as importantly - increased the cushion ahead of the teams below them.

They made one change to the starting line-up, with Phil Ifil coming into the side in place of Kayode Odejayi and Kevin Lisbie moving up front.

The U's started brightly and at a high tempo, and the fans in the South Stand seemed determined to match that sentiment with some high vocal support of their own in the first ten minutes.

A White cross on four minutes caused havoc at the back when it was flicked on by a Rovers man into his own area, but Coles was in position to just clear it in time as Platt went to pounce.

The big number nine returned the favour with a ball into Wordsworth's path and when it was just taken off his toes, Ifil's follow-up shot was well blocked by the visiting defence.

The U's had started well and nearly took the lead when Okuonghae rose highest at the far post to head towards goal. The ball was blocked and eventually hacked behind for a corner, with the captain coming agonisingly close to getting his first goal for the club.

They were playing some good stuff, with Fox instrumental in keeping things ticking over. On the rare occasions they went a bit longer, Platt's running in leading the line was superb.

The home team should have got their noses in front with 17 minutes on the clock. A ball thrown into the area by White fell to the feet of Wordsworth and with a swipe at the ball with his right foot, it just skipped past the far post.

On the occasions that the ball wasn't dropping for the U's, they were pressing well to ensure that they gained territory.

Rovers had a rare counter attack on 19 minutes which the U's initially snuffed out, before the visitors won a free kick which was well punched clear by Williams as the home side saw the danger away.

It turned out to be the start of a spell where they started to see a bit more of the ball, but Lisbie almost caught them on the counter attack, only to have an air shot when the key moment came in the penalty area.

The forward then dropped the ball back cleverly to Tierney on 28 minutes and his cross ended up being an effort that almost lobbed Andersen, who tipped the ball over the bar - but with the away side being given a goal kick.

But they did get their noses in front on the half hour mark. Great persistence from Ifil saw him get into the area down the right and the ball eventually fell to Lisbie to lash a low effort beyond Andersen and into the far side netting.

It was everything that the U's had deserved for a dominant first half hour and they nearly doubled their advantage on 33 minutes.

Wordsworth burst through from midfield and played a clever one two with Lisbie. He struck a firm left footed shot that Andersen half smothered, just taking enough pace off it to allow it to be cleared.

The visitors were far from dead and buried at only a goal behind and a cross from the right was missed by a host of players in the middle before falling to Campbell and, from a narrow angle, he forced a fine stop out of Williams, who had otherwise been untroubled in the first half.

The U's remained dominant though and some great approach play by Lisbie saw the ball fed out to Ifil and it eventually came out to Fox, whose low fizzing shot only just beat Andersen's far post.

The home side made a change at the break, introducing Izzet in place of Fox and almost doubled their advantage within a minute of the restart. Good hold up play by Lisbie saw him feed the ball into the path of Ifil, whose low cross was almost turned home by Platt.

Lisbie then almost got in behind the Rovers defence twice in quick succession thanks to a clever ball from Tierney, but the defence intercepted just in time on both occasions.

The game had carried on where it left off from a U's perspective, with Rovers having to hit the home side on the counter attack, using the exceptional pace of Kuffour.

That encouraged the visitors to make their first change, taking off and replacing with Swallow for the final half hour of the game.

But it was the U's to go close once again just after the hour mark as Ifil twisted and turned his man as he came in off the flank, to drive in a low shot that Andersen was only able to save at the second time of asking.

The South Stand was in full voice, though, and that encouraged the rest of the fans to get involved as their side looked for that crucial second goal.

Izzet was nearly the man to get it as he popped up with an effort on the edge of the box, but it clipped the shoulder of the Rovers defender in front of him and fizzed away for a corner.

Rovers tried to catch the U's on the counter attack but were snuffed out by Reid who was again exceptional.

The referee's decisions were beginning to frustrate the home fans, but their side were keeping calm despite those calls against them. One shout did go their way with twenty left though, as Lisbie rescued a defensive situation before earning a free kick.

O'Toole and Lines went in the book for a coming together not long afterwards, before Wright was replaced by Williams for the final quarter of an hour of the match.

And whilst chances weren't as forthcoming in the second half, Lisbie wriggled himself away down the right and twice struck a shot from a narrow angle that couldn't quite find a path to goal.

When Rovers did come forward, they were finding the U's full backs in exceptional form, with both White and Tierney preventing crosses coming into the box.

With five minutes left, Ifil was replaced by Hackney and Lisbie by Odejayi, both to a standing ovation, with both players having put in superb shifts for the team during the afternoon.

The second of the two substitutes nearly got a second goal for the U's as he dived in to head an effort that forced a fine save out of Andersen, but the flag had gone up to save the visiting side.

The flag stayed down in injury time when Tierney was fed in superbly by Hackney, but the keeper stood tall to block away the effort when it seemed the full back was due to score his second for the club.

But the U's held firm and continued their superb form at home this season.

U's: Williams, White, Okuonghae, Reid, Tierney, Ifil (Hackney), O'Toole, Fox (Izzet), Wordsworth, Lisbie (Odejayi), Platt

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

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