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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:59 31st August 2009

United 0 Forest Green 0

Forest Green became the first side to avoid defeat at the Kassam Stadium this season as they scrapped their way to a brave first point of the season. United had several great chances to win the match but could find no way though the forest of green.

Unbeaten and with a 100% home record, against a side yet to pick up a point there was a certain air of inevitability among a giant crowd which saw a queue for tickets still snaking across the car park well into the game. Clearly nobody had told Forest Green about any of this. They had the first clear opening as Sean Rigg found himself in acres of space in the area but couldn't get his shot away in time (earning a boking for diving for his troubles).

That early warning was a bit of a wake up call because United should have taken the lead on 14 when Adam Murray, deployed on the left of midfield, fizzed in a fantastic cross which Matt Green steered over the bar from no more than two yards out. That chance aside United found it hard to get a sight of keeper Burton's goal as Forest Green turned the tables on the table and forced Ryan Clarke to save from a Rigg shot on 27 minutes.

Dannie Bulman, full of running and purpose as ever, saw a shot saved on 28, Green snatched at a chance and sent it wide on 32 after a neat set-up by strike partner Constable, and with Rovers also prepared to throw men forward it was another decent game to watch. At half time it was The U's who had had the best two chances, both to Green, but Rovers who will have been the happier team.

The second half started in similar fashion although United switched to 4-4-2 to try and find that elusive breakthrough. It was the visitors who came closest though with two snatched chances inside the first fifteen minutes which perhaps betrayed their fragile confidence but also showed their blossoming belief that they could pull off what had seemed an unlikely victory before kick off.

United then squandered their third clear chance on 67 as Creighton towered above everyone to head across goal but Constable nodded the ball wide of the gaping goal.

The largest home contingent of the season kept singing their men forward but that vital spark was missing. What the U's have done so well this season is find a big player for the big moment but on this occasion the chances just refused to come.

Clarke played his part with a superb save on 78 to push a goalbound effort from the excellent Paul Stonehouse round the left had post before the fourth miss of the afternoon saw Green fail to conect at the far post with a magnificent deep cross from debutant Steven Kinniburgh.The young scotsman can feel pleased with his performance where he looked solid in defence and more than comfortable on the ball.

You can't win every game and credit to Forest Green for their efforts, but United stay unbeaten and top of the table.

Att: 6338

Away: 146

Report by Chris Williams

Fifty/50 winner: 25278

Highlights to follow in the morning

    Data provided by Press Association

    QUICK FACTS

    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.