The D3D4 Correspondents give their match reports from the games in League One and Two this Saturday…
MATCH REPORT: Southend United 1-1 Oxford United
Oxford United will be the happier side after the draw at Roots Hall this afternoon. The Yellows had to patch up their backline due to injury and Christian Ribeiro’s retirement. Southend would have been level on points with the U’s if they had won this one but a Wes Thomas goal just three minute after Simon Cox had opened the scoring for the hosts was enough to claim a point for Oxford.
You feel Southend should be doing better considering the players they have and also taking into account their strong campaign last season. They have really struggled on the road but at home they have been solid and remain unbeaten. Oxford have been more up and down this season than a window cleaner and Tuesday nights 4-2 home defeat by Blackburn really sucked the positive mood away from the 4-0 win at Plymouth Argyle.
I was pretty apprehensive about the trip to Roots Hall and didn’t have a lot of confidence but Oxford started brightly and forced Mark Oxley, arguably Southend’s best player this season, into an early save when he stopped Xemi’s shot.
Oxford had more injury worries when Rothwell limped off to be replaced my Mowatt. It was the sub that hit the bar with an effort before the U’s fell behind in the 19th minute. McLauglin crossed well for Simon Cox to slide in from close range but Oxford were not behind for long as 3 minutes later Wes Thomas got the better of a ponderous Anton Ferdinand, clearly too slow for League One, and slotted past Oxley for 1-1.
Both sides had chances before the break as Josh Wright hit the bar and then, not to be outdone, Ruffels did the same for Oxford.
The second half was an even affair and both sides had their chances. Jack Payne was excellent for Oxford and teed up Henry who had his effort blocked. Henry was again close on 56 minutes when he hooked and effort just wide.
Southend looked dangerous as you would expect from a side that have not lost at home this season and Nile Ranger headed the ball back for wright to miss an open goal and this came just after Marc Antoine-Fortune broke through only to be denied by Eastwood.
The point is better for Oxford than the Shrimpers who have been reliant on home form to keep them in touch with the play-offs but Oxford’s inconsistent form gives me about as much confidence as finding a decent breakfast in a Little Chef. Up next is Doncaster at home in the League as a big month of fixtures during December awaits, let’s just hope we still have enough fit players to put a team on the pitch. COYY
words James Richards, D3D4 Football
MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 1-3 Wigan Athletic
Promotion favourites Wigan came to a freezing NYS for today’s clash with the out of form Millers.
Another healthy 8412 crowd greeted the teams with over 900 fans from the North West. Wigan confidently began to take control from the first whistle & won three corners in the first five minutes without seriously threatening. This changed however on 12 minutes when the Latics took the lead. Millers defender Michael Ihekwe was harshly penalised for a challenge on Michael Jacobs on the edge of the area & from the resultant Reece Evans free kick was nodded in at the near post by Will Grigg . The Millers hit straight back with a quality equaliser in the next attack, a long ball was headed on by Millers striker Kieffer Moore into the path of strike partner David Ball who took aim from 25 yards & curled a beautiful effort beyond Jamie Jones & into the top corner of the Latics goal.
Hurt by Rotherham’s unexpected equaliser Wigan began to besiege the Millers goal with Ryan Colclough (Twice), Grigg & Chey Dunkley having goal bound efforts either saved by Rodak or blocked before all their pressure bore fruit when on 32 minutes they deservedly regained the lead when Centre Back Alex Bruce chested the ball down unchallenged in the area & flicked the ball beyond Rodak & into the net. Rotherham tried to respond & were almost level on 42 minutes when full back Shaun Cummings sent a low cross in from the right flank that was just too strong for the onrushing Lee Frecklington.
HT Millers 1 Latics 2
Wigan began the second half in complete control of the game & it was no surprise when they increased their lead on the hour when Ihewke made a pigs ear of a routine defensive clearance presenting the ball to Grigg who was clean through on goal. Although Rodak got a hand to his effort the ball broke favourably to Jacobs to drill the ball home. Rotherham tried to respond & top scorer Kieffer Moore drilled a decent effort into the side netting & Centre Half Richard Wood was millimetres away from halving the deficit when he almost converted Frecklington’s cross. Wigan continued to look dangerous however with Colclough & sub Ivan Toney coming close to getting a fourth goal for the Latics but the last opportunity came from the home side, Frecklington hitting a 25 yard drive just wide before the final whistle brought a deserved three points for Wigan.
I truly believe that I have seen this season’s League 1 Champions at NYS this afternoon & sadly it is not my beloved RUFC. Wigan have the look & feel of Champions. Defensively solid & uncompromising, combative creative & pacey in midfield & goals coming from all over the team. I’d be genuinely shocked if they didn’t win L1.
As far as Rotherham are concerned it seems ages ago now when we were putting decent L1 sides to the sword 5-0 & 5-1 every other week. Something is very wrong down NYS way & unless our defensive frailty is addressed soon, a long winter is in store.
FT Millers 1 Latics 3
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 1-1 Morecambe
Morecambe Get The Blues.
Morecambe have a poor record against northern neighbours Carlisle. From eleven games in all competitions, they have only ever won one. Already this season, they have lost three-nil at home to the Cumbrians in the Football League Trophy. At Brunton Park today, the Shrimps really did need to do something about this poor record as urgently as they have had to do anything possibly in their entire history. Chesterfield have suddenly started to win and Barnet are also showing signs of fighting against their recent poor form. So results elsewhere coupled with another loss against United today could see the Lancashire club slipping further into the mire. Prior to kick-off, Morecambe found themselves in the very precarious perch just above the relegation positions. Another loss such as they suffered at home against Crewe in mid-week could see the Shrimps actually rock bottom of the entire EFL at the end of the match.
Carlisle have not been having anything like the impact they made on League Two in the early stages of last season this time around. Before the game, they were twelfth in the table with some inconsistent results throughout the current campaign. This month, however, they started promisingly, dumping League One Oldham Athletic out of the FA Cup and then winning their next couple of League Two games. The run came to a shuddering halt last time out, though, when they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Luton at Kenilworth Road last Saturday. So for the Blues, today’s encounter with their nearest geographical rivals would provide an opportunity for Keith Curle to get his team back on-track. For opposite number Jim Bentley, there was a lot more at stake…
With heavy rain and flooding again in much of Cumbria this week, there were some concerns about the game going ahead on a ground near to the full to bursting River Eden. Although some of United’s car parks were flooded, the groundsmen had made such a brilliant job of preparing a pitch which has been completely submerged in recent years that it was necessary to use the sprinklers before kick-off.
The Morecambe boss clearly had a game plan which soon became apparent on a bitterly cold day near the Scottish border. Kevin Ellison and former Blue Adam Campbell were both clearly tasked with the job of dropping back to restrict Carlisle’s opportunities up the flanks and the Shrimps used Adam McGurk as a target man to aim at every time they were able to counter attack.
In fact, the visitors had the first chance of the game in the opening minute when United lost possession and Ellison was then presented with a header which Jack Bonham in the home goal saved relatively easily. In a half of very few chances and generally poor quality, Wildig had the next chance after fifteen minutes when he was played-in by Ellison but was thwarted by Bonham quickly coming off his line and narrowing the angle to make a good stop. With Carlisle looking increasingly out of sorts, they did manage to put the ball in the net after Reggie Lamb took a shot which Barry Roche only half-saved after seventeen minutes. Richard Bennett, following up, put the ball past the goalkeeper but even he seemed to realise that he was clearly off-side and the goal was not given.
As the three hundred or so visiting supporters noisily urged their team forward, the Shrimps gained more and more possession as the half wore on. In the Brunton Park Paddock, certain Cumbrian supporters also were clearly supporting one particular Morecambe player. This was Patrick Brough, a native of Silloth on the West Cumbrian coast and former Carlisle player. His own particular fan club were from the same place and clearly had mixed loyalties as the game progressed. The best chance of the game so far arrived after forty minutes and when Adam McGurk hit the side netting instead of squaring the ball to a better-placed Andy Fleming in the centre, the latter was not slow to let the former know what he thought about it. Shortly after this, McGurk did release the ball but Clint Hill – who had a shaky game in the Carlisle defence today – managed to head the ball away for a corner as Ellison was bearing rapidly down on him. Although United had a half-chance right at the end of the first period, Morecambe went into the dressing rooms clearly the better of the two teams.
But Morecambe soon began to rue missed chances when the second half started. Hallam Hope took a shot from a long way out after just two minutes of the restart which Big Baz did well to push away for a corner as it dipped towards the top corner at the last moment. The home team then duly took the lead after fifty-one minutes. Kelvin Etuhu took a shot from a long way out following an attempted clearing header by Steven Old and the ball passed through several legs, seemingly unsighting Roche in the Shrimps’ goal as it went past him into the net. Yet even after this, the visitors continued to play the more structured and positive football.
Aaron Wildig squandered a golden opportunity to equalise after 58 minutes when Campbell put a superb cross into the box only for him to steer it wide. Four minutes later, Campbell himself tried his luck but his shot missed the target by a whisker. With the team south of the Cumbrian border continuing to dominate the play, Keith Curle tried to change things with a double substitution after 64 minutes. The Morecambe fans took the opportunity to jeer at their own former top scorer Shaun Miller but were noticeably less vocal when former Shrimps star Jamie Devitt was introduced for the hosts in the seventy-eighth minute. But by this time, the visitors had been on level terms for five minutes. A goal which seemed inevitable finally arrived when Wildig slung over a free-kick, the ball pinged about in the Carlisle penalty area but Steven Old was on hand to poke the ball past Bonham to equalise. After this, there was only one team which was going to win and the visitors had the perfect opportunity to collect all three points on the road when the Blues’ goalkeeper was adjudged to have brought down Sam Lavelle in the penalty area and Referee Darren Handley pointed to the spot. This was with just eight minutes still scheduled to play. Adam Campbell duly stepped-up to take the spot kick but his fierce strike slammed against the crossbar and bounced away to safety.
So at the end of the contest, Morecambe had not so much as battled their way to a valuable point as thrown-away two more. Nevertheless, Jim Bentley must have been pleased with the battling qualities of his team and the tremendous support it generated among their own travelling supporters. (This annoyed certain individuals in the home crowd so much that several of these were ejected by their own stewards shortly after the Shrimps equalised.)
If they continue to play like this, Morecambe will find themselves going in the same direction as relegation rivals Chesterfield: UPWARDS. With the Spireites again grabbing a point away from home but both Barnet and Crewe losing at home today, the draw pushed Morecambe one point higher in League Two to twenty-first position. Carlisle, meanwhile, slipped to fourteenth.
Carlisle United: 1 Jack Bonham; 5 Gary Liddle; 4 Luke Joyce 14 Richard Bennett (20 Shaun Miller 64 mins); 29 Clint Hill; 3 Danny Grainger (C); 19 Reggie Lambe (Y) (11 Jamie Devitt 78 mins); 8 Michael Jones (18 John O’Sullivan 64 mins); 17 James Brown; 9 Hallam Hope; 21 Kelvin Etuhu.
Subs not used: 23 Shamal George; 6 Tom Parkes; 2 Tom Miller; 15 Sam Cosgrove.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 17 Mitchell Lund; 16 Sam Lavelle; 5 Steven Old (Y); 3 Patrick Brough; 4 Alex Kenyon (C); 8 Andy Fleming; 10 Adam Campbell; 11 Kevin Ellison (9 Vadaine Oliver 90 mins); 28 Adam McGurk (7 Garry Thompson 70 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig.
Subs Not Used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 2 Aaron McGowan; 14 Luke Conlan; 29 Callum Lang; 22 Max Muller; 24 Michael Rose.
Ref: Darren Handley.
Attendance: 5010 (356 from Morecambe).
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 1-1 Morecambe
Despite the torrential weather midweek that left most of the Brunton Park pitch under water, the club from the seaside Morecambe still managed travel to Carlisle United with the prospect of yet again stopping the Cumbrians from reigning victorious over them at their ground.
The match seriously struggled to get going at all in the first-half and only half-chances came as it ebbed and flowed. With Jim Bentley’s team making sure that they didn’t let Keith Curle’s men gain an early advantage, the game was tight from the off. The real opening opportunity came when a long ball up field from the Kevin Ellison (who constantly argued all match with the officials, opposition players and even opposition fans) fell to Aaron Wildig over Gary Liddle and ever-improved Jack Bonham charged out to save.
Target man Richie Bennett hit the back of the net following a skilled Reggie Lambe effort after he found space, but the big man was flagged offside to the home crowd’s dismay and the roaring away crowd’s delight. It was then Morecambe’s turn again to put pressure on as sharp play cut open the Blues’ defence before Adam McGurk could only hit the side netting in spite of men being in the free middle of the penalty box.
Former Barrow man Bennett was once more almost on the scoresheet when he was the subject of a cross from James Brown but he tumbled over to leave the chance to go begging. Half-time arrived with no team too pleased with their efforts prior to the interval.
After the break, things livened up as the weather continued to get more and more grim. It was odd that Curle opted to make no tactical changes following grumbles from the crowd earlier in the match as Mike Jones continued to be deployed on the left of the midfield – which wasn’t successful – and no real interplay was consistently coming due Lambe not being able to take on the responsibility of a creative hub.
Once Jones was in the middle in a rare occasion following some decent play, he picked up the ball from a weak Steven Old clearance and was forced to lay it back to Kelvin Etuhu; who took the crowd’s advice and struck a low shot from around 25 yards which inexplicably beat Bentley’s goalkeeper Barry Roche in the middle of goal to open the scoring.
That gave the home side a lift but it wasn’t capitalised on. Senior players like Clint Hill and Danny Grainger at the back were looking jaded and were beaten many times by the away side’s quick counter attacking plan as they themselves squandered chances. Although, when some dogdy play at back from Carlisle made them concede a corner, it lead to the equaliser as Andrew Fleming put the ball back into the box after Old couldn’t fully connect and it came right back to the unmarked Old to flick in past Bonham from close range. Frustration grew for the home supporters with huge displeasure coming from some whereas the away supporters knew that the score staying as it was would be a decent result. Most expected a Carlisle fight but they were under the cosh again when Morecambe’s ambition culminated in another corner which was passed into the mostly open box. The ball had to be dealt with and Bonham believed he was right to do the job as he rashly rushed out with haste towards his near side along with the incoming Sam Lavelle. The ball was won by the Shrimp but threw himself down dramatically sparking the Blues goalkeeper’s uncharacteristically seething rage and a penalty was awarded.
The decision will surely be reviewed after what happened to Shaun Miller following the news rules of ‘successful deception of the match official’ as Lavelle seemed to dive like the pitch was still under water! With Bonham saving both of the penalties he’d faced this season including one days prior, Adam Campbell had his work cut out but smashed the crossbar to waste the opportunity. Even after time to get chances, the full-time whistle blew to boos and groans as spirits in Cumbria went down once again with a huge period of matches coming up and taste of disappointment in the mouth.
Carlisle never were able to get anything more than a dire draw in front of a large crowd (a typical post-good form performance). In contrast, Morecambe were happy to hold out for a point. Yet again, these two sides couldn’t be separated at Brunton Park.
Attendance: 5,010 (356 away)
Referee: Darren Handley
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Coventry City 1-1 Crawley Town
Meeting up in the pub with a few fellow fans before the match we discussed over some beers the news of Jodi Jones being out for the rest of the season through injury. The reaction was mixed with a couple of City supporters saying he blows hot and cold, while me and my mate were gutted by his injury as we both hoped it wasn’t too serious.
Anyway off we trudged to the game in the hope of an entertaining match with the Sky Blues taking all three points. By the final whistle we all wished we’d have stayed in the boozer, as it was like watching the Dog and Duck v The Red Lion in a pub league.
I know it’s not Premier League football, but both sides were poor and the City only decided to start playing with twenty minutes to go. One down at half time to a goal by Crawley’s Roberts on 42 minutes, we thought the home side would come out for the second half all guns blazing and put Crawley Town to the sword. But no they were as flat as a pancake and for some reason seemed short on ideas. As the temperature dropped around the Ricoh Arena in a very lowly crowd of 6,381with an away support of less than a hundred fans, the atmosphere was flat and dull, mirroring the football out on the pitch. Then the City players with the minutes ticking away decided to start passing the ball around, and went at the visitors defence. And in the 74th minute McNulty banged home the equaliser giving us fans something to cheer about.
But Crawley nearly got a winner near the end as a goalbound shot just grazed a post instead of nestling in the net. So a poor scrappy match ended in a 1-1 stalemate, and was about the correct result as neither side deserved to win it. Would a fit Jodi Jones have won it for us? Who can say as you’re not always sure which Jones will turn up. But on form I myself would say yes Jodi Jones would have caused Crawley’s defence all sorts of problems. Roll on January when hopefully we bring in a striker, a midfield playmaker, and someone to replace Jones. But knowing our owners they’ll give the manager nothing, or sell one or two of our better players to buy one new player!
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 Yeovil Town
Solid Wycombe performance grabs the points against lacklustre Yeovil
Ebrechi Eze and Joe Jacobson both scored in the first half to hand the points to Wycombe, who also grabbed 6 points from 9 in the calendar week.
In truth the first half was poor, with only Eze really impressing with some delightful touches and the Yeovil players were at times chasing shadows.
The first goal came in the 37th minute because Yeovil failed to clear effectively from their box. The ball broke to Eze on the edge, his first touch killed the ball and with the second he lashed the ball past Artur Krysiak.
Wycombe’s second came a couple of minutes later, as Paris Cowan-Hall burst into the box and as he went to pull the trigger, he was felled from behind. No doubts about the penalty and Joe Jacobson stepped up to score his 4th goal of the season, a great return from left back.
The first half had another final twist, as Jordan Green got to the byline and turned the ball back across for Francois Zoko to score his 7th goal of the season. The goal was totally against the run of the play and changed the half time team talks for both managers.
Wycombe started the second half brightly and had some dangerous passages of play which resulted in free kicks, which Jacobson put narrowly wide and Jombati tested the Yeovil goalkeeper from 25 yards.
Yeovil had a late cross flash across goal which caused panic but other than that, there was a lack of penetration in Wycombe’s final third. Adebayo Akinfenwa had a strike from distance in the 91st minute which struck the bar and soon after the referee blew the whistle and Wanderers had secured the points which propelled the Chairboys to 5th place in the table.
Man of the Match: Ebrechi Eze
words Scott MacDonald, D3D4 Wycombe Wanderers Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Cambridge United 1-0 Stevenage
Stevenage come away without anything once again in the pursuit of three points as a dominant performance led to late heartbreak for Darren Sarll’s side. Uche Ikpeazu headed and it would seem handled the ball into the net late on as, despite a reasonable performance, Stevenage didn’t deserve that. But then again Sarll’s side need to learn how to stop making mistakes.
Stevenage missed a whole host of chances throughout the game and were the better side for much of it, the team unable to find a way past an inspired David Forde in goal.
Darren Sarll named two changes to the side that drew with Coventry in mid-week, Godden (injured) and Beautyman out for Samuel and Whelpdale.
Both sides got off to a tentative start, with neither able to create much inside the opening 15 minutes with most of the play being fought in the middle of the pitch.
Boro stood firm though and came close to capitalising on their own set piece after 20 minutes, Martin’s wide free-kick causing Forde in goal to punch away, colliding with his own player and the ball falling just in the wrong spot for a Stevenage player to get onto.
Just moments later, Boro should have taken the lead. Smith, Pett and Samuel all failing to turn the ball home as it ricocheted inside the Cambridge box following another well delivered corner. Stevenage dominated territory throughout much of the first half, winning the ball back early in midfield and keeping the opposition on the back foot. It was really a tale of fouls and set-pieces though as the half was a stop-start affair with free flowing football placed on hold. Right before the whistle, the best chance of the half fell for Newton, a swivel and strike just inside the box that flew over the bar.
Boro burst out of the blocks to start the second half and had a number of good chances to take the lead. Danny Newton heading just the wrong side of the post from another superb Martin corner before the striker tested Forde with a long range blaster from 20 yards.
Cambridge came roaring back though and had two great opportunities to go ahead. First Ibehre heading wide before Lewis couldn’t keep his shot down from close range.
There were big shouts for a penalty as Alex Samuel was tussled to the ground having worked his way into the box, the referee waving away all protests as the game began to really heat up. Danny Newton could have had a first half hat-trick as his goal-bound shot from 10 yards was blocked by Leon Legge.
The chances continued to come and hands were in heads on the hour mark as Tom Pett did brilliantly to weave his way in-between Cambridge defenders before firing narrowly wide of the top corner. Joe Fryer came up huge on 70 minutes to beat away a stunning Ikpeazu effort from distance, the keeper at full stretch to keep his side in it.
The resulting corner needed Danny Newton to head away on the line as the home side upped the ante with a quarter of the game to go.
The second half was a totally different game to the first, both sides going back and forth in search for a win, Chris Whelpdale denied only by an outstanding stop from Forde after the midfielder kept his cool, weaving in between challenges inside the box. The resulting corner again saw Boro denied by Forde. First Whelpdale and then Martin stopped from headers at point blank range.
With only minutes to go, Ikpeazu made Stevenage pay as he headed in from a few yards out following a scramble inside the area. Joy for the U’s, despair for Boro. In the closing moments Stevenage pushed for an equaliser but Cambridge held out for a 1-0 win.
Attentions turn to the FA cup now for Stevenage who face a tricky tie at home to Swindon. Winless in nine but some really good points and performances just missing something. Sarll summed it all up brilliantly when he said “I feel like someone has walked up and taken my phone, my keys, all my money and ran off with everything I have worked for .Hugely frustrating to come away with nothing – I think I would have been disappointed to come away with a draw. The player’s performance certainly deserved something”
But one things for sure. We need to get our winning ways back and very very quickly.
Away day experience
The most awkward away day I’ve ever experienced to get to from the station, a good half hour away which is an absolute joke. The away stand is the most accomplished stand and the facilities are reasonable. I have to admit their food may have been expensive but it was absolutely beautiful from the burger bar. Our atmosphere was good even a smoke bomb set us off and got us lively. But as I find myself saying far too often. Football turns things sour and nothing like a last minute defeat.
So close for Stevenage but yet so far. Our season remains on the tightrope
words Reece Donnelly, D3D4 Stevenage Correspondent