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Late Goal Denies U's A Win

3 August 2012

Another encouraging display for Ward's men.

A late goal denied the U's a victory against Championship side Derby County, but there was once again plenty of encouragement for John Ward with the season only eleven days away.

The visitors had a couple of early chances as first Tyson had a shot deflected wide of goal before, from the resulting corner, Keogh headed wide when well placed.

This was a step forward from the West Ham performance and there's much to take forward ahead of the trip to Yeovil.

After falling behind early on, the U's fought back well and probably had the better of it either side of half time as they got themselves in front, before the Rams pulled it all square at the death.

But the U’s bounced back well as they saw a good amount of possession in the next five minutes, and moved the ball around nicely as they looked for a path to goal.

However, they fell behind on nine minutes. They looked to have snuffed out a Derby attack from a long ball forward as Magnus Okuonghae got the ball but he put too much on his backpass and, with Cousins coming to the edge of the box, he planted it into the back of the net.

The U’s reacted well to going behind, seeing plenty of the ball and they had a shot on goal on the quarter hour mark as Rose whipped one over the bar.

Derby were defensively resolute, though, keeping the U’s to the edge of their own area and protecting Fielding well.

A good U’s counter attack saw Morrison feed it out to Henderson on the left hand edge of the box and his shot went over the bar as Fielding watched it go by.

The visitors then headed towards goal again, with a shot from the edge of the box deflected wide before Keogh spurned another good chance as he flung himself towards the goal to head wide of goal.

The U’s best chance of the half arrived ten minutes before the interval.

For one of the first times, Wilson got away down the right hand side and his low cross into the area was flicked towards goal with a cheeky backheel by Morrison.

Fielding got down well to save to his left and, had Morrison not made the connection, Wordsworth was surging in to finish himself.

Derby responded with a chance for Bryson as he surged forwards onto a through ball, but Cousins got to the edge of the box to block.

That proved crucial as the U’s drew level two minutes before half time.

A swift burst forward starting with Heath and Henderson saw Bond break the midfield lines to get to the edge of the box. He played a ball out to Sears on the right who, with a fierce drive, found the far bottom corner across Fielding for 1-1.

The U’s continued where they left off after the break and the home team were getting their forward players closer together and seeing more of the ball.

They got their just rewards as they took the lead ten minutes into the second half.

Bond played the ball into Sears and there was some neat – and at close quarters – interplay between Sears and Morrison before a delicious finish from the ex-West Ham man saw him curl the ball home for 2-1.

The visitors were happy to hit on the counter attack with the pace of Ward and Tyson giving them things to think about.

One move saw Tyson cut the ball back in behind and, when Cousins couldn’t collect, Okuonghae bust a gut to block Coutts shot.

Shortly afterwards, the U’s keeper pulled off the save of the game as he arched his back and tipped away a shot from Ward that looked like it had beaten him to the top corner.

Midway through the half, the U’s made their first changes with Bean and O’Toole coming on for Wordsworth and Izzet for the final quarter of the match.

The U’s were tracking their runners well, ensuring that Cousins was well protected.

After a flurry of substitutions, Brayford drove a shot wide of goal, but the U’s retained their advantage into the last fifteen minutes.

They did have an injury worry going into that last quarter of an hour as Okuonghae went off and was replaced by Eastman.

It looked precautionary though, as the big centre half walked relatively freely back to the substitute’s bench.

Derby had a chance from a corner as first Cousins clawed the ball clear and then, from the follow up, Rose cleared off the line from Theo Robinson.

Freddie Ladapo came on for Morrison for the last eleven minutes, and he almost capitalised on a defensive mistake as he used his pace to close down substitute keeper Legzdins and almost get it on goal.

However, the Rams pulled it all square with pretty much the last kick of the game. The U's lost the ball just on the halfway line and Robinson was sent clear, who wasted no time as he slotted the ball under Cousins for 2-2. U's: Cousins, Rose, Okuonghae (75), Heath, Wilson, Izzet (Bean 67), Bond, Wordsworth (O'Toole 67), Henderson, Sears, Morrison (Ladapo 79)

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