Cambridge United ended 2016 with an excellent 2-0 local derby league victory over Stevenage on Saturday morning.
United, energised by the midweek FA Youth Cup victory over AFC Bournemouth started the game well and began to play with attacking intent and quality.
Early chances for Prince Mutswunguma and Ben Worman weren’t capitalised upon, however Harry Lea opened the scoring with an exquisite finish from just inside the penalty area after good work in the wide area by Mutswunguma.
Lea added a second just ten minutes later, a neat finish in the box from Worman’s cut back. As the half progressed, United grew in confidence and played some scintillating football and will have been frustrated to not have extended their lead.
Ben Worman was adjudged to have elbowed a Stevenage defender and was given his marching orders just before the break, to send the U’s into half time facing a second half a man down.
As was to be expected Stevenage had a lot of possession and delivered a high number of crosses in the second period, but a strong United back line and disciplined defensive shape denied the Hertfordshire side.
A late flurry of opportunities for the visitors were to no avail. A goal was ruled offside and Fin Iron made an excellent stop from a penalty kick in injury time having brought down the forward from the previous attack. As the final five minutes of injury time played out, a shattered United held firm and recorded an excellent victory.
Academy Manager Mark Bonner commented on the result: “To end this week with a performance and result like that is superb. The players have done it today without Foy, Knowles and Davies, and then had to play 50 minutes without Ben Worman. Following the midweek result against Bournemouth as well and in reply to last weekend’s defeat at Dagenham, we could not be happier.
“It ends the calendar year on a high for us and going into a break, we can have a rest before returning in the New Year with a game against Southend who are third in the table just behind us, so it will be a great first game back.
“In the first half we played ever so well, and dominated the ball. Harry took his two goals really well, and the sending off before the break created a new challenge for the second half.
“We had to be resolute and defend well and we did that throughout the half. Fin has made an outstanding penalty save at the death and we hung on. We showed everything we had to and displayed again the togetherness of this team.”
Team; Iron, Darling, Squire, Watkins (Neal 45), Worman, Bell-Toxtle, Mutswunguma, Norville-Williams (Johnson 90), Lea, Shaw, Emmins