Match Report

 

Sat 03 May 14

The U's have won 1-0 at Walsall on the final day of the season. 

A second half goal from Craig Eastmond was enough as the U's finish the season on a high.

Karl Duguid made a twenty minute cameo at the end of his career and Clinton Morrison also ended his time at the U's with victory. 

Manager Joe Dunne made four changes to his starting line-up, bringing in Magnus Okuonghae, Craig Eastmond, Dominic Vose and Clinton Morrison. 

Brian Wilson and Jabo Ibehre picked up injuries in the win against Brentford, while Freddie Sears and Sanchez Watt were not risked after carrying minor injuries in recent weeks.  

The game started in bight sunshine, with both sides looking to pass the ball patiently around the immaculate surface.

It was the U’s who had the first opening, coming in the fifth minute, but Clinton Morrison was always stretching as his shot went straight at home keeper Richard O’Donnell.

Three minutes later, Baxendale got into a good position on the angle of the box but Sam Walker made a comfortable save low down.

Gavin Massey, who was looking the most dangerous player early on, had a curling effort saved before Walker palmed away another curler, this time from Morris.

The game slowed considerably in the middle of the first half and the next goalmouth action didn’t come until the half hour mark.

First, Walker took two attempts to gather a long range effort from Chambers then Westcarr lobbed over from a good position and drilled a shot wide from just outside the box.

Just as the half went into injury time, Morris tested Walker again but it was straight at the U’s ever present keeper and he gathered easily.

It was an even half and the 0-0 scoreline was fair given the lack of real clear cut chances in the first forty five minutes.

There were two half time changes for the U’s, with Drey Wright replacing Marcus Bean and Magnus Okuonghae being replaced by debutant Frankie Kent.

The U’s youth team captain rounded off a great couple of weeks with his first team debut, after captaining the U18s to a league and cup double. 

Both sides came out for the second half with more purpose and looking to move the ball at a quicker tempo.

Chambers shot low from the edge of the box on forty nine minutes, but once again Walker was more than equal to the task to palm it away.

Three minutes later, the U’s opened the scoring thanks to a block by midfielder Craig Eastmond.

Drey Wright raced down the left and looked for Eastmond with a pull back to the edge of the area.

Chambers was first to it though but his clearance ricocheted off Eastmond’s leg and flew past O’Donnell at his near post.

It was the sort of good fortune that had eluded the U’s throughout the season but gave them the lead on the final day.

Having gone behind, the hosts looked to get forward but were restricted to long range efforts.

They had two in the space of two minutes just before the hour mark, but neither tested Walker.

On seventy one minutes, the travelling contingent of over 300 U’s fans got their wish for a Karl Duguid appearance.

The thirty four year old announced his retirement in recent weeks but harboured hopes that he would be able to make one last appearance for his beloved club.

He replaced Dominic Vose, and despite a wait of a few minutes, received a massive ovation for his first touch.

The hosts finished the game the stronger, with Taylor shooting over and Butler denied by a great smothering save from Walker.

Clinton Morrison, making his final U’s appearance, signed off with a match winning contribution, clearing off the line to preserve the U’s lead.

The final home effort, as others before it, flew over the bar before the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game and the campaign.

A strong finish to the season for the U’s yielded ten points from a possible fifteen, easing them into sixteenth place in the League One table.

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