Full time report from the Kassam Stadium
A late goal from George Baldock gave United a hard-earned point at home to Morecambe tonight. The right back's 87th minute shot cancelled out Kevin Ellison's first half opener and gave the U's a draw earned the hard way,
The opening goal of the night came after ten minutes through the all too familiar figure of Ellison, who scored a carbon-copy goal of the one he netted in the corresponding game at the Globe Arena in August. This time it was Jack Redshaw that caused the problem, his shot taking a deflection and palmed away by Ryan Clarke directly into the path of Ellison, who poked home to make it 1-0 to Morecambe.
The 36-year-old then flashed another effort narrowly wide of the mark on 15, led the loud appeals on 22 minutes when Redshaw was baulked during a well-worked set piece routine inside the box, and generally became tormentor-in-chief as the Shrimps pushed United back in an uneasy first 20 minutes.
The U's then started to grow into the game as Patrick Hoban began to link things together at the top of the pitch and Danny Hylton buzzed around him. The top scorer had the first shot of the night on 36 after a good move had left the ever-willing Baldock with a crossing opportunity from the right, and with Morecambe happy to protect their lead and only venture forward on the break the Yellows began to dominate possession.
They might have drawn level shortly before the break when Ruffels got forward to thump a header against the bar from ten yards out with keeper Andreas Arestidou beaten but after a sluggish start the U's had definitely come into the game more in the latter stages of that first half.
Hoban almost created an equaliser two minutes after the break, bustling past two men but unable to sneak his cross beyond a last covering defender for the prowling O'Dowda beyond.
United then battered away without finding a way through the Morecambe back line, throwing on new arrival Armand Gnanduillet and Kemar Roofe just after the hour mark to try and find a way through. A light failure in the stands brought, um, light relief, with fans holding up phone flashlights to try and throw some light on the situation but on the pitch United had been missing a spark. Lots of honest hard work but not too many shots to test Arestidou in the Morecambe goal.
Crosses were blocked or repelled, the visitors' 'Game Management' was exemplary and United needed that little bit of bulldog spirit, or in this case Baldock spirit to go with their patience.
The MK Dons right-back had been excellent, constantly driving the U's forward on that right flank, and with time running out burst through a couple of weak challenges to reach the edge of the area. His shot was perfectly flighted beyond Arestidou and United had made their point.
It might have been even better a minute later as Hoban's goalbound shot was blocked on the line with nobody able to force the loose ball home, but they had scrapped hard for their draw and made it three games unbeaten while just edging themselves ever further away from potential danger.
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Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Darrell Fisher
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