Match Report


Sat 07 Aug 10

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The U's were denied an opening day win by a late Richard Logan strike at Exeter.

After going behind on six minutes, the U's responded almost immediately, with a header and free kick from the impressive Anthony Wordsworth.

Chances came and went in the remainder of the first half, with the U's constantly causing problems down the channels, but John Ward's troops deservedly went into half time 2-1 ahead.

The U's defended professionally in the second period and restricted Exeter's chances at goal but a late Logan strike gave the hosts a draw and a share of the points.

The U's named two debutants in their first team of the season, as new boss John Ward began his 41st season in professional football.

Andy Bond and Brian Wilson lined up at St James' Park, with Bond playing in midfield and Wilson occupying the right back slot.

Throughout pre-season, Ward has been looking at a 4-3-3 formation and that was how the U's started in the season opener in the West Country.

Henderson and Wordsworth joined Odejayi in attack and Bond lined up alongside Izzet and Perkins in midfield.

Mark Cousins spent the majority of last season on the U's bench but benefited from an injury to Ben Williams to take his place in goal against the Grecians.

During pre-season, the U's looked strong at the back and the big decision for the U's boss was at centre half, where he opted for Okuonghae to partner Reid, despite tough competition from Baldwin and Heath.

Summer signing Brian Wilson and Players' Player of the Season Marc Tierney started in the full back positions, looking to get forward in wide positions to support the U's attacks.

The home side kicked off on a brand new pitch that was showing signs of sand just under the surface but it was the U's who had the first chance of the game.

A cross came in from Marc Tierney and Anthony Wordsworth got his header on target but it looped straight into the hands of Paul Jones.

The first time Exeter got into the U's box came on six minutes and it resulted in a penalty being given and the lead being taken.

David Perkins was adjudged to have hauled back the Exeter player breaking into the box and Ryan Harley made no mistake from the spot.

There was no panic amongst the U's though and less than two minutes later, the scores were level through Wordsworth.

Having scored a dozen goals last season, Wordsworth got his first of the new campaign thanks to a powerful header into the top corner.

Good play down the right between Andy Bond and David Perkins resulted in Brian Wilson getting forward from right back to cross to the far post, where Wordsworth did the rest.

A minute later Wordsworth had doubled his and the U's tally, scoring from distance from a set piece.

Kayode Odejayi was hauled down twenty five yards from goal and the left foot strike from Wordsworth beat Jones all ends up to give the U's the lead with less than ten minutes on the clock.

The U's were looking in the mood now and Andy Bond had a ferocious half volley well saved, before Jones tipped a Henderson header over the bar.

Just before the half hour mark, new skipper Kem Izzet could have extended the lead but his attempted lob wasn't high enough and Jones made a comfortable save.

Wordsworth was denied an opening day hat-trick by a great one handed save, as another free-kick caused danger for the home goal.

The home side were themselves playing a brave game, allowing the U's space either side of the centre halves, but that did provide the Grecians with a late chance in the half.

Harley, the danger man for Exeter, made space for himself and hit a left foot shot that seemed to move in the air on its way goalwards.

Cousins got right behind it though and saved at the second attempt, with two forwards waiting to pounce on the loose ball.

John Ward would have been happy to go into the break ahead but would have reminded the U's of their responsibilities defensively.

And that was exactly how it transpired in the early parts of the second period, with the U's putting their hosts under pressure and refusing to allow them any time to pick the passes.

As in the first half, Wordsworth was the first to get an effort at goal, heading narrowly wide after getting to a David Perkins free kick before his marker.

In a somewhat quieter half, the next effort came on 57 minutes and Nardiello was denied by his own player, O'Flynn blocking the goalbound shot.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Ward made his first change, giving a debut to new loanee David Mooney, Odejayi the layer replaced.

Mooney could only watch seconds after coming on as Wilson made a vital interception just as Nardiello thought he would equalise from close range.

As the game went into the final ten minutes, Henderson broke forward but his left foot shot from twenty yards out flew just wide of the far post.

From the resultant goal kick, Logan was denied by a good save from Cousins, who had to get down sharply to his right to push the shot behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

Exeter boss Paul Tidsdale threw caution to the wind and put his two striking substitutes on and the move paid dividends with just three minutes remaining.

Danger man Harley found space on the edge of the box but his first shot was brilliantly blocked by Magnus Okuonghae.

Harley's rebound was deflected straight into the path of Rihard Logan and having controlled the ball in an instant, the former Ipswich striker crashed home to save a point.

Henderson shot over the bar with seconds of injury time remaining but there were heads in hands in the disappointed U's ranks when the final whistle went.

An away point on the opening day was never a disaster but holding on for four more minutes would have made it a perfect day on the road.

U's: Cousins, Wilson, Reid, Okuonghae, Tierney, Bond, Izzet (Beevers 86), Perkins, Henderson, Wordsworth (Vincent 83), Odejayi (Mooney 75).

Subs: Pentney, Baldwin, White, James.
    Data provided by Press Association

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