Match Report

 

Mon 08 Mar 10


Chances were at a premium on Monday night as the U's were unable to find a way to goal against an improving Brighton side.

The Seagulls had held Leeds at Elland Road and beaten Charlton at The Valley, and provided a stern opposition for the U's in their latest away day.

The U's never hit top gear but equally were resolute in keeping the Seagulls at bay as the game only threatened a goal on rare occasions.

Aidy Boothroyd made a number of changes as they looked to return to winning ways following the defeat to Bristol Rovers last week. Magnus Okuonghae returned to the centre of defence and Kem Izzet to midfield, with Kayode Odejayi coming in up front as the spine of the team was altered for the televised game. It was the visitors who were getting the early sights of the target, but Williams was happy to see the Seagulls' first efforts go wide and over his goal. The U's were struggling to retain possession in contrast and the visitors could have been more than happy with their early efforts. The home side did have a rare foray into the opposition penalty area after 11 minutes, where they worked the ball out to the right and sent in a cross which Odejayi headed well wide under pressure. The U's fans realised their side needed a bit of a pick me up, and the South Stand got right behind the players as the quarter hour mark approached. And the home side responded in kind when they put together the best move of the game. Prutton showed clever footwork to get away from his man and laid it out wide to Platt. His low centre through the corridor of uncertainty seemed destined for Odejayi, but a good defensive clearance saved the day. The U's were starting to find their feet and, having won a series of throws around the box, a fine cross from Tierney required decisive work from Brezovan to collect the ball. Calderon then defended well from a White cross on the other side as the home side cranked up the pressure. Platt slid in Odejayi next up as the big striker rolled his man, but his sidefooted effort went across the face of goal and was eventually cleared under pressure. Odejayi's physical presence was causing problems and when Wordsworth played it forward to him on the halfway line, Calderon went in the book for holding onto the front man as he tried to get away. With their pace, Brighton were always going to be a dangerous proposition and it took a good tackle from Izzet with another excellent tracking run that prevented more problems on the half hour mark. Lua Lua then sent across a dangerous ball not long afterwards that Okuonghae cleared well as Murray lingered with intent. Williams was then called into action for the first time as two Seagulls players got in at the back post, with the U's stopper blocking with his feet from El-Abd's targeted header. Brezovan then pulled off an equally sharp stop as, from a throw-in on the right, a flick on came to O'Toole who acrobatically volleyed towards the keeper who reacted well to block. The Seagulls were the ones stepping it up though as the half came to a close. Calderon was busting a gut to get in down the right and he forced Williams into another top class save as he flicked it over the bar. The U's had lost the momentum that they had gained earlier in the half, and Aidy Boothroyd made his mind up that things needed changing at the break. Platt and O'Toole were the men to be replaced and Lisbie and Vincent added further power and pace to the U's line-up. The latter of the two almost made an instant impression as he juggled the ball past two Brighton players before being denied by a third as the ball dropped for him to shoot. White then had a cross headed behind for a corner, as the U's started the second period brightly, with Odejayi also having a shot blocked. Murray went close with a toe poked shot towards goal not long afterwards though, to remind the U's that they wouldn't have it all their own way. Just as Brighton had had at the end of the first half, the U's had a shout for a penalty, but like the Seagulls, their shout was waved away by the match official. Bennett picked himself up from a free kick that he had won to send in a curling effort towards goal, but Wordsworth blocked well to send it behind. From the corner, Dicker went close - but not close enough. Vincent was a livewire for the U's, and the visitors took off their own pace merchant on the hour mark, as Holroyd came on for Lua Lua. The game then died off in terms of chances, and the scoreline remained goalless as the fixture entered its final quarter. Brezovan had a doubly lucky escape with 19 minutes remaining as a second Tierney cross in quick sucession was spilt under pressure by the keeper. Firstly it fell to a Seagulls player, secondly the referee saved his blushes with a blow of the whistle. The Seagulls went close with fifteen minutes remaining. A low cross into the box was deliberately stepped over by Murray, but he was left disappointed as no one followed up on the ball. Lisbie then nearly broke away, only to be denied at the last, but the game remained light on clear cut chances as the last ten minutes approached. Gillespie was to be introduced for the final ten minutes, coming on for Steven Gillespie as the U's looked for the key to unlock the Brighton door. The Seagulls went close next though, Bennett getting in at the far post, but only able to help it back across goal. Two visiting players went to ground in the ensuing melee but the referee wasn't interested in a penalty once again. Substitute Gillespie escaped through the middle not long afterwards which almost presented a chance for Lisbie, but the U's couldn't capitalise on the corner that followed. The pacey trio of Lisbie, Gillespie and Vincent were giving the U's a threat, and from one free kick won by Gillespie, White came close to his first ever goal for the club. Gillespie then cut in from the left to drive a shot towards goal that Brezovan held well, but still they couldn't find a way past the visiting stopper. And so it proved as the game wound its way to a fruitless conclusion - the U's having to share the spoils on this occasion.
    Data provided by Press Association

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