Oxford United were left frustrated at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon as they drew 0-0 with Morecambe in Sky Bet League 2. Despite dominating most of the game, United couldn't find a goal to match their neat approach play, with a missed penalty from Kemar Roofe in the second half proving the pivotal moment.
On a beautiful autumn afternoon there was plenty of zip about the first half as both sides probed for openings with short passes and quick movement. However it took a while for the game to fully warm up.
One flowing move on 19 ended with a surging run from Callum O'Dowda that almost set up Danny Hylton at the near post, but otherwise it was a case of United dominating possession and trying to break down a disciplined Morecambe back line, until the customary Ellison moment arrived on 29 minutes. The shaven-headed striker always thrives against United and when his back header looped over Sam Slocombe it looked as though he had struck again, only for the ball to hit the bar and come back into play.
United were seeing far more of the ball in the first half and almost found the opener when another astute ball from Jake Wright gave Roofe the chance to turn and fire in a low shot that keeper Barry Roche tipped round the post. Right on half time a Roofe run allowed Hylton to get in another effort that Roche beat away and then there were loud shouts for a penalty as Ellison, always in the centre of things, prevented an own goal from a teammate by smuggling the ball round the post with his arm.
The OPTA stats had United as 73 per cent possession in the first 45 minutes, and even if that was a little generous it did underline their dominance.
The second half was a similar story and there was almost another own goal on 55 as Adam Dugdale got his feet in a muddle and sliced a cross perhaps a foot over his own crossbar. Roofe then blasted in a low shot that Roche kicked away and was fortunate to see fly to safety in a packed penalty area before the defining moment on 64 minutes.
Roofe did brilliantly to go past two men on the right touchline and make a beeline for the box. Morecambe skipper Shaun Beeley got across to cover but in doing so barged Roofe over to concede a penalty. Roofe picked himself up but became the third United player this season to miss from the spot as his low kick was comfortably saved by the plunging Roche, down to his left.
Morecambe saw their opportunity and became more positive in United's half after that moment but didn't seriously test Slocombe all afternoon, however try as they might the U's just couldn't create the one clinical moment that would have given them all three points.
Still unbeaten at home this season, United now hit the road with away games at York and Accrington over the next seven days.
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Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Steve Daniels
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