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Match Centre

23:37 3rd July 2012
By  Will Weston

U's grab vital three points on the road

Cambridge United claimed a vital three points on Tuesday night with a 4-2 win in a topsy-turvy encounter against Ebbsfleet United.

The U's made one change from the 3-0 win at Billericay 10 days ago, with Tom Elliott being restored to the starting line-up in place of Sam Smith.

The home side included ex-U's Ashley Carew and Liam Enver-Marum in their starting line-up and the game got off to an explosive start despite the freezing conditions.

Richard Money's side got off to the dream start when Tom Elliott beat his man and fired home after just 47 seconds.

The U's achilles heel this season came to the fore again, however, as they were only able to hold on to the lead for 12 minutes.

It was of course an ex-U Enver-Marum who netted the equaliser for Ebbsfleet, putting the finishing touch on a good move by the home side.

This was how it stayed until half-time, although Andy Pugh should really have put the visitors into the lead when he fired over from close range.

Things got worse for United just after half-time when, on 49 minutes, Matt Godden was allowed to finish past Jed Steer at the back post.

Fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst at this point but a double change from manager Money inspired a quite superb comeback from the U's.

Robbie Willmott and Sam Smith came on in place of Harrison Dunk and Michael Gash and within five minutes the U's were back on level terms.

Kevin Roberts was the provider, swinging in a great ball for Tom Elliott to head home and grab his second of the match.

Incredibly, the U's completed the turnaround a mere 60 seconds later. It was substitute Smith whose perseverance paid off and allowed him to pounce on some shaky defending to slot home and make it 3-2.

The goal sparked wild scenes among the U's fans and they were given even more to cheer about 10 minutes later when Elliott completed his hattrick.

The striker got on the end of a great ball from Josh Coulson and buried his header past home 'keeper Edwards to bag his 11th league goal of the season.

At 4-2 up it appeared as if the U's had done enough to secure a vital three points but a second booking for Pugh put the U's down to 10 men and set up a rather nervous finale.

However, Richard Money's charges saw off the last 15 minutes without too much trouble and held on to a big three points which lifts United out of the relegation zone and up to 17th place with just their second away win of the campaign.

Following the match Money admitted to BBC Cambridgeshire's Mark Johnson that he was delighted with the result but disappointed with the sloppy nature of some of United's defending, claiming certain things "simply weren't good enough."

However, with the U's now unbeaten in four matches in all competitions Money feels that, due to the tight nature of the league this season, Cambridge United could do "something absolutely extraordinary" in the coming months if they can maintain their consistency.

United will be looking to extend that unbeaten run when they face Gateshead at the R Costings Abbey Stadium on Saturday (3pm KO).