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Match Reports

Match Report : 10/12/2016

10 December 2016

The U's have drawn 0-0 at Mansfield Town to make it three clean sheets in a row and seven points from their last nine. 

Neither side could get going in the first half, with free kicks and stoppages preventing any flow to things.

The home side had the better of possession in the second period, but the U's defended resolutely and protected Sam Walker.

Unsurprisingly, John McGreal kept the same eleven that had won the past two games 3-0 and 4-0, but there were two players returning from injury on the bench.

Sammie Szmodics and Lloyd Doyley joined fellow subs in the U’s dugout, having recovered from their respective injuries.

The early stages of the game were punctuated with numerous free kicks and stoppages and there was only one meaningful piece of action in the first ten minutes.

Ashley Hemmings picked the ball up on the right, cut inside onto his left foot but his shot was well wide of Sam Walker’s goal.

On eleven minutes though, there was a massive let off for the U’s, as Matt Green wasted a clear chance ten yards out and with just Walker to beat.

A free kick dropped in the box, a clearance hit a U’s defender and dropped to the home striker but he dragged his effort horribly wide.

Although they weren’t by any means dominating things, Mansfield also had the next chance.

A good move on the right resulted in a pull back that Green failed to connect with and a follow up shot from Hemmings was well blocked.

The first effort on target the U’s managed in the first half came on twenty three minutes.

An Owen Garvan free kick was flicked goalwards by Kurtis Guthrie, but it was well watched by Scott Shearer and the home keeper made a comfortable save down to his right.

Garvan had an effort at goal himself five minutes before the break but once again, Shearer was equal to it and turned it away for a corner.

After two minutes of injury time, the referee blew up for half time and it was a half that never flowed and it was no surprise that the score was goalless.

After the break, it only took the U’s a couple of minutes to get an effort on goal, but Shearer caught the ball easily from a looping header from Denny Johnstone.

As in the first half, the game wasn’t flowing, with the whistle blowing frequently for fouls and no rhythm being established.

Just after the hour, Mansfield had a shot on target of their own, with Walker diving to his right to save from Green.

Green had the next effort as well, heading onto the roof of the net from a right wing cross that temped Walker to come for before retreating to his line.

The hosts were starting to exert pressure and Richard Brindley was on hand with a brilliant defensive header at the far post from another right wing cross.

McGreal made his first change on seventy six minutes, bringing on Sammie Szmodics for Johnstone, who had worked tirelessly without getting any breaks up front.

There had been numerous free kicks put into both boxes during the game and the U’s nearly profited from one eight minutes from time.

Garvan’s delivery was again effective and Brennan Dickenson was unlucky when his header hit a defender, who knew nothing of his intervention.

Drey Wright was introduced on eighty six minutes, and was straight into the action with a shot that was comfortably saved by Shearer.

The U’s almost got a late winner, which would have been a touch lucky, when Tom Eastman’s looping header hit the top of the bar.

It dropped to Kurtis Guthrie, but the U’s forward couldn’t manufacture a shot and the ball was cleared.

That came just before the ninety minutes were up, and injury time was played out in the middle of the pitch before the final whistle went.

The U’s couldn’t make it three wins from three but a third clean sheet in succession and an away point made it a good afternoon's work in the East Midlands.