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Match Centre

23:37 3rd July 2012
By  Matt Gooding

U's stroll to victory over Gateshead

Cambridge United made it five games unbeaten with a comfortable victory over Gateshead at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.

United created a hatful of chances in the first half, but only had Tom Shaw's powerful half-volley to show for their endeavours. They were also indebted to goalkeeper Jed Steer for three cracking saves which prevented the visitors notching the equaliser.

A great start to the second half saw Josh Coulson smash in number two, before Gateshead's James Curtis was dismissed for a second booking after bringing down the excellent Tom Elliott. James Jennings curled home the resulting free kick to complete the victory.

Richard Money made one enforced change to the side that beat Ebbsfleet 4-2 on Tuesday. Andy Pugh was suspended after being sent off in that match, so Robbie Willmott came into the starting XI, surprisingly starting on the left with Harrison Dunk on the right.

Though the match started slowly, United always looked dangerous from set pieces, with the Heed defence struggling to contain their hosts. Tom Elliott should have put United in front when he found space at the far post to meet a Rossi Jarvis corner, but he could only volley high over the bar when he should've troubled Adam Bartlett in the visiting goal.

Bartlett, who made one memorable appearance for United in the 2009 play-off final, was called into action moments later to make a brilliant reaction save, turning a close range effort from Harrison Dunk over the crossbar after another dangerous corner from Rossi Jarvis. And it was no surprise when a Jarvis flag-kick led to the U's hitting the front in the 15th minute. This time the corner was played in to Michael Gash at the near post, and though a defender headed clear the ball fell to Shaw 12 yards out, who lashed a rising half-volley past Bartlett.

Gateshead hit back, creating three opportunities of their own in quick succession, but on-loan keeper Jed Steer was equal to all they threw at him. Steer, making his last appearance for United before returning to parent club Norwich City, parried away a close range from Lee Bullock, then made an even better save with his legs to foil Josh Gillies. Then Jamie Chandler got clear down the right, but couldn't find a way past the keeper who parried his near-post shot to safety.

Dunk missed another good chance before half-time, shooting wide from just inside the box, but United had doubled their lead within two minutes of the second half restart.

A corner from Jarvis was headed goalwards by Elliott, and though this effort was blocked Josh Coulson was in the right place to lash in the rebound.

Elliott's shot rattled the under-side of the bar as United pushed for a third goal, and any hopes the visitors had of mounting a come-back disappeared when Curtis was given his marching orders. Having been booked in the first half, he brought down Elliott 25 yards from goal and was sent off.

To make matters worse for Curtis, Jennings curled the resulting free kick into the top corner to wrap up the three points for the U's.

Shaw and Willmott both missed good chances to increase United's winning margin, but Money's men had to settle for a 3-0 victory which moves them up to 13th in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.

Man of the Match: Rossi Jarvis - Patrolled midfield effectively all afternoon, and his set-pieces caused no end of problems for the Gateshead defence.

Cambridge United: Steer, Roberts (Thorpe 90), Jennings (Haynes-Brown 81), Coulson, McAuley, Willmott, Dunk, Jarvis, Shaw, Elliott (Smith 75), Gash. Subs not used: Hedge, Hudson.

Gateshead: Bartlett, Magnay, Boyle, Curtis, Clark, Gillies (Bush 77), Bullock (Turnbull 59), Cummins (Odubade 54), Chandler, Donaldson, Hatch. Subs not used: Nixon, Henderson.

Attendance: 1,840 (away 26)


16.50: And that's that. Very comfortable for United in the end, Richard Money's men created a hatful of chances before and after the visitors were reduced to ten men, a very satisfying afternoon's work.

16.46: One minute to go, and Kevin Roberts is going off injured. He stayed down following a rampaging run forward, and tried to continue but was obviously in pain. Jonathon Thorpe on in his place, and we're going to have three minutes stoppage time.

16.39: Time for Curtis Haynes-Brown's United debut, he'll replace Jennings for the last nine minutes.

16.35: Meanwhile Heed's last change sees Gillies hobble off, he looked dangerous early on. Chris Bush is the replacement.

16.33: Tom Elliott down in the right corner, think he's suffering from a bit of cramp, but Richard Money not taking any chances, he's replaced by Sam Smith. Elliott has had a good game.

16.30: Willmott inches away from a fourth, Elliott's pass puts him in the clear, but his drilled angled shot flashes past the far post, unlucky.

16.28: Robbie Willmott holds the ball up well and brings in Gash, then back to Roberts. His cross towards Elliott is headed out to Shaw, whose low shot is tipped round the post by Bartlett, good save. Dunk's shot from the resulting corner trickles wide, and it remains 3-0.

16.18: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3-0 GATESHEAD. A very good position indeed, as JAMES JENNINGS takes aim and dispatches a beauty into the top corner, no chance Bartlett, 3-0.

16.17: RED CARD. Maybe not that quiet, long ball forward finds Elliott, who is dumped to the ground by Curtis. Apparently he'd already been booked, because he's on his way to the dressing rooms early! United free kick in a good position.

16.16: Another Gateshead change coming up, Phil Turnbull coming on for Lee Bullock. Things have quietened down somewhat after a quiet start ot the second half.

16.08: So close to a third, Gash bulldozes through the Heed defence and the ball reaches Elliott, whose shot smashes the underside of the bar and bounces out. Gateshead with their first change, it's Odubade replacing Cummins, Odubade always makes me nervous.

16.04: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-0 GATESHEAD. It's United's second, and it's JOSH COULSON with the goal. Jarvis' corner finds Elliott, and though his header is blocked Coulson reaches the rebound and smashes the ball in, boom.

16.03: Bright start to the second half from United, Rossi Jarvis makes progress down the left, his cross finds Elliott, whose shot deflects just wide of the post, corner.

HALF TIME: Cambridge United 1-0 Gateshead.

15.45: One minute to be added, and United have a free kick 30 yards out, Dunk making progress before being pushed over by Chandler. Jarvis chips it up to the back post, where Gash arrives but Bartlett is able to turn his header over the bar. Time for a corner? Seems so, Jarvis delivers, there's a melee in front of the keeper, who just about manages to fist it away, and that's half time. United just about deserve their lead, which comes thanks to Shaw's excellent finish.

15.36: An excellent lunging tackle from Jarvis sets United away on a counter attack with Gash. Jarvis joins in and finds Roberts. His low centre doesn't reach Gash, but the rebound sits up nicely for Dunk 12 yards out. Unfortunately he drags his right foot shot just wide of the post, should've done better.

15.31: The crowd don't like that, Elliott puts Dunk through on goal, but the referee pulls play back for a foul on Elliott. If ever a situation required advantage to be played, that was it. Still, free kick to the U's in a promising position, but Jennings takes aim and curls his shot a couple of feet over the bar.

15.25: And again Steer comes to our rescue, this time United caught out by a long ball over the top which Chandler runs onto, but his low angled shot is parried away by Steer, who can't prevent the corner. Fortunately United clear the danger.

15.23: That's an even better save from Steer, a low effort from Gillies which the on loan keeper blocks away with his legs, that looked a certain equaliser.

15.21: Gateshead close to an equaliser from a corner of their own. Hatch flicks the set piece on at the near post, and it finds Lee Bullock arriving at the back stick heads goalwards but Steer makes a brilliant parry to get the ball away. Gateshead think that was over the line but the ref isn't interested.

15.16: United pressing for a second with good patient football down their left. Shaw's cross is hacked away from inside the six-yard box, but Willmott and Jennings keep the pressure on, and JJ's cross cum shot zips past the far post just ahead of the lunging Gash.

15.14: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 GATESHEAD. It's the U's who lead and TOM SHAW with the goal. Gateshead not looking very solid at set pieces, and a Rossi Jarvis corner is headed out to Shaw near the penalty spot, and he hits an unstoppable shot into the ground and up over Bartlett.

15.09: Great save from Bartlett denies Harrison Dunk. The United winger meets another corner from Jarvis but his shot into the ground is athletically parried to safety by Bartlett, good reactions from the stopper. Gateshead clear the follow-up corner, and survive.

15.07: That should've been 1-0 United, as Tom Elliott finds space in the box to meet a corner which had been flicked on at the near post. But with the goal in his sights United's top scorer volleyed high over the bar. Good chance that. At the other end Gillies finds space but his shot is all along the ground and easily saved by Steer.

15.04: United have started with Robbie Willmott wide on the left, and Dunk on the right flank. Interesting move from Richard Money. The diminutive Chandler had the ball in the net early on, but the ref had already pulled play back for a foul by Liam Hatch.

14.59: The teams are out, Gateshead are all in blue with a fetching terracotta trim. None of their few travelling fans appear to have their shirts off, can't be real geordies. Gateshead to kick off attacking the NRE.

Cambridge United: Steer, Roberts, Jennings (Haynes-Brown 81), Coulson, McAuley, Willmott, Dunk, Jarvis, Shaw, Elliott (Smith 75), Gash. Subs: Hedge, Thorpe, Hudson, Smith, Haynes-Brown.

Gateshead: Bartlett, Magnay, Boyle, Curtis, Clark, Gillies (Bush 77), Bullock (Turnbull 59), Cummins (Odubade 54), Chandler, Donaldson, Hatch. Subs not used: Nixon, Henderson.

14.45: TEAM NEWS. Richard Money makes one enforced change to the side that won 4-2 at Ebbsfleet in midweek, with Robbie Willmott replacing the suspended Andy Pugh on the right flank.

Gateshead include ex-U's goalkeeper Adam Bartlett, who made one memorable appearance for us in the 2009 Play-off final at Wembley. Also in the starting line-up is Liam Hatch, who always seems to be involved in the action one way or another when he plays here. He headed the winner for Heed in their 1-0 triumph last season, and was sent off while playing for Luton in 2009, a match which the Hatters went on to win 4-3.

14.30: Good afternoon and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for this afternoon's match between Cambridge United and Gateshead. The teams face each other twice in the next seven days, and United will be hoping to draw first blood and continue their unbeaten run.