Match Report


Sat 23 Feb 13

The U's fell to a heavy defeat on Saturday as Tranmere Rovers found their shooting boots to condemn Joe Dunne's men to a 5-1 reverse.

The home side had battled to get themselves level, but a goal just before half time took the wind out of their sails. 

Joe Dunne's men tried to find their way past a Rovers back line that stood strong in the second half, providing the rest of their team with a platform to go and score three second half goals to strengthen their own promotion push. 

It was a big blow to a U's side that had been improving in recent weeks and now they must pick themselves up and try and overcome an in-form Yeovil on Tuesday night.  

The U’s were unchanged for the visit of Rovers, with the returning Brian Wilson making it to the bench after missing the game at Sheffield United a week before.

The U’s started the brighter, with Clifford firing over the bar after some good pressure around the Tranmere box.

Next, Okuonghae flicked on a long Porter throw, but Fon Williams reacted quickest to nick it off the toes of the waiting Ibehre.

However, the visitors took the lead after they were awarded a contentious corner on ten minutes. 

The set piece was cleared to the edge of the box to the awaiting Power in space, who struck a perfect half volley to beat the unsighted Walker as it cannoned in off the bar.

The U’s tried to respond and, after Power hit Robinson in the face with the ball, the home side broke and Sears’ shot was deflected behind for a corner.

The U’s kept pressing and they got themselves level on the half hour mark.

Clifford had won a free kick out on the right and after his shot flicked up into the air, Ibehre missed his shot, but Okuonghae was on hand to slot home at the near post past Fon Williams.

Robinson smashed a shot past the far upright ten minutes before half time, before Bakayogo slid a shot wide of the near post after a darting run to the edge of the box.

The visitors got their noses in front just before half time, but it was a goal made by a U’s mistake. Hesitation between Walker and Thompson allowed Akpa Akpro to nip in and he stabbed the ball into the empty net.

Sidibe could have made it three not long afterwards, diving for a cross into the box but he missed it and there was no linesman’s flag either.

At the start of the second half, Corry went into the book for pulling back Sears – reminiscent of the treatment he received in the win over Preston.

Sears did get away ten minutes into the second half, darting towards goal and striking in a shot that flew past the far upright.

The U’s were growing in stature, but despite another effort from Sears on 62 minutes, Fon Williams was still relatively untested.

The home side made their second change not long afterwards, bringing on Bond in place of David Wright.

But the substitute hadn’t touched the ball before Rovers got their noses further in front. Thompson was booked for persistent fouling and, from the set piece, it was played wide and crossed in for Taylor to power a header home.

The U’s had the stuffing taken out of them by that third goal and were struggling to get a foothold back in the match.

They had the ball in and around the Rovers area but they were unable to test Fon Williams in the Rovers goal.

For the visitors, substitute Stockton came off the bench to replace Sidibe, and he grabbed the fourth of the game as clock ran down.

He span his man on the edge of the box and finished with a low effort into the bottom corner beyond the dive of Walker.

And it got worse for the U’s in injury time. O’Halloran had got away from the defence, but opted to try and take on Thompson again rather than take his shot.

He went to ground – easily in the fans’ view – and the referee awarded a penalty. He slotted home the spot kick himself to make it 5-1. 

It was to be the final blow for the U's on a desperately disappointing afternoon.

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