U's snatch draw in topsy-turvy encounter
Tom Shaw popped with a stoppage time strike to grab United a share of the spoils in a crazy game at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
Shaw smashed the ball in from 20 yards to send the home fans wild and cap a dramatic match in which United were behind twice but somehow levelled in a crazy finish to the match.
Jez George rang the changes following the disappointing 4-1 defeat to Wrexham seven days ago, handing starts to Jonathon Thorpe, loanee Danny Andrew, Shaw, Michael Gash and Andy Pugh.
With Liam Hughes and Ricky Wellard on the flanks, United looked a lot more solid, but still carved out numerous chances in a first half they dominated. Skipper for the day Rory McAuley headed over from a Hughes cross, Michael Gash saw an acrobatic effort hit the bar, then struck the post with a close range shot moments later. Shaw had an effort well saved by Ryan Young in the Telford goal, while Luke Berry went close twice, with one shot being cleared off the line by Phil Trainer.
Telford's main threat came via right-winger Steve Leslie, and it took a fantastic headed clearance from Josh Coulson to prevent him from opening the scoring just before half-time. Nevertheless, it was against the run of play when the Bucks went ahead in the 56th minute. Luke Berry lost possession, allowing Richard Davies to thread a pass through for Steve Jones, who had time to set himself and clip a shot past Jonathan Hedge.
George introduced Adam Marriott in place of Wellard as United went in search of an equaliser, and after a sustained spell of pressure they got it in the 70th minute. Andrew drove in a cross-cum-shot from the right, and Pugh was in the right place to touch the ball home at the far post.
It got even better for the U's four minutes later, as Thorpe's lofted cross into the boss caused an almighty scramble, and Gash was able to turn and saw his shot deflected past Young to make it 2-1.
But any thoughts that United might be able to see the match out for a welcome three points were vanquished when Telford equalised with seven minutes to go. The U's were unable to clear their lines, and the ball fell perfectly for Davies to bury a volley past Hedge from the edge of the box.
The visitors smelled blood, and grabbed what looked to be the winner with two minutes left on the clock. Josh Coulson was unable to deal with a cross from the left, and substitute Jamie Spray was able to control and lash home from close range.
With five minutes injury time signalled by referee Whitton, Sam Smith joined the action, but after missing a good chance to equalise the former Lincoln striker had to be carried off on a stretcher having sustained what appeared to be concussion. After a lengthy delay play resumed, and Shaw levelled matters with virtually the last kick of the match to give the U's a point their performance more than merited.
Man of the Match: Michael Gash - Led the line superbly and could have had a hat-trick on his return to the side.
Cambridge United: Hedge, Thorpe (Wylde 80), Andrew, McAuley, Coulson, Shaw, Berry, Wellard (Marriott 65), Hughes (Smith 90), Pugh, Gash. Subs not used: Ross, Eades.
AFC Telford: Young, Salmon, Davies, Chilvers, Rose, Taylor, Trainer, Leslie (Rooney 77), Brown, Jones (Spray 79), St Aimee (Byfield 86). Subs not used: Roberts, Collister.
FULL TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3-3 AFC TELFORD.
19.14: Unbelievable, oh my word, TOM SHAW steals the ball in midfield, and strides forward. Telford are surprisingly open at the back, and Shaw sets himself before drilling an absolute beauty past Young. That was right in the corner. The final whistle sounds shortly afterwards, United have a point from what was a crazy game, which they've could've won, but ultimately probably should have lost. Phew.
19.13: GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL. CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3-3 AFC TELFORD
19.09: Smith now being stretchered off, strange end to the match, hope he's ok. Not sure how long United have to snatch an unlikely equaliser.
19.06: What a chance for Smith, Coulson digs a cross out, and Smith looks set to head in but is denied by a diving save from Young. Smith goes away apparently unscathed, but the Young appears very concerned and ushers Greg Reid onto the pitch. Smith is now being lowered onto the stretcher in a neck brace, bit of a strange one as he stayed on his feet through out.
19.03: Five minutes to be added as Sam Smith comes on for United, Liam Hughes the man replaced. United have a throw on their left, in it comes and Wylde swings and volleys wide.
18.59: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-3 AFC TELFORD. Oh my gosh, I don't actually know what to say. Josh Coulson can't clear a cross from the left, allowing JAMIE SPRAY to control and smash in from close range. Heart break for United.
18.57: Former U's loanee Darren Byfield comes on for the last five minutes, St Aimee replaced. The crowd well and truly deflated.
18.55: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-2 AFC TELFORD. The visitors level, United guilty once again of not clearing their box effectively, and the ball spins up perfectly for RICHARD DAVIES to hammer and unstoppable volley past Hedge from the edge of the box.
18.53: United with a change now, it's Michael Wylde on for Jonathon Thorpe, who has been excellent on his return after a pretty serious injury. To make it through 80 minutes is a good achievement from the teenager.
18.51: ... and another, Spray on for the goalscorer Jones.
18.50: Andy Sinton makes his first change, Leslie replaced with Nathan Rooney.
18.47: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-1 AFC TELFORD. Turn around complete, Thorpe loops a high cross into the box, there's an almighty scramble, and MICHAEL GASH sees his shot deflected past Young. Hughes is booked in the aftermath for something or other.
18.43: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-1 AFC TELFORD. The Newmarket Road End erupts as ANDY PUGH stabs in Andrew's cross-cum-shot at the far post to draw United level. Little more than they've deserved, game on!
18.42: Another United corner now, which Andrew will take from the right. It's in but headed away at the
18.38: First change for United, and it's Adam Marriott entering the fray in place of Wellard, more of a standard 4-3-3 for United now, with Marriott up front with Pugh and Gash. And as I type Hughes whips in a cross which Gash can only steer just wide of the far post.
18.35: Today's attendance, 1,962, with 61 away fans.
18.33: YELLOW CARD. Rose takes Hughes down, then appears to raise his hand to the U's man. He's lucky to get away with only a booking, especially after his extended protests earn him another talking to from the ref. Andrew's free kick isn't bad, but no one can get a touch and Young makes a catch.
18.29: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-1 TELFORD. United made to pay for their wasteful finishing, they can't clear their lines and Richard Davies slides a pass through the defence for STEVE JONES, who gets clear of the defence and slots the ball past the exposed Hedge. Somewhat against the run of play but United have it all to do. Again.
18.24: Pugh does go for goal, and though he beats the wall it's a comfortable save for Young.
18.23: YELLOW CARD. Long ball over the top and Pugh scampers away as the ball rebounds off Trainer into his path. That hit Trainer on the arm, and the ref pulls play back for a free kick to United, and a booking for Trainer. This is 25 yards or so out, bit wide for a shot perhaps.
18.20: Delicious ball in from Pugh, sadly it's just too far in front of Gash. Telford have a free kick on half-way, which is pumped into the box. Hedge comes for the ball and doesn't get there, but does enough to put off Jordan Rose, who heads over.
18.18: Back underway here at the R Costings Abbey Stadium, Pugh tries to get Gash away but the offside flag goes up against United's number nine.
HALF-TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-0 AFC TELFORD
18.00: One minute to be added, and we barely have that as the referee blows for half-time. Much improved display from much changed United, who hit the woodwork twice and can feel relatively pleased with their efforts in the first 45 minutes.
17.56: Crikey, United, more specifically Michael Gash, hit the woodwork twice in quick succession. First a fantastic bicycle kick from the striker comes back off the bar with Young stranded, then moments later he slides in to meet a Wellard cross but can only direct his shot against the post from close range. Getting closer.
17.53: Good save from Hedge, who has to dive across to parry away a shot from the dangerous Lesley. Telford's corner is cleared, but Jones gets to the byline and pulls the ball back for Chilvers, whose shot looks a certain goal until Coulson dives across to head it over his own bar. Great defending. Telford have a corner but United deal with it and can breathe again.
17.51: More enterprise from Pugh, controlling on his chest and spinning off Rose, who has to poke the ball behind for another United corner. Andrew takes and Gash heads over.
17.49: This one's inswinging and Coulson had to head behind, safety first defending from Josh there. Another decent centre is met by Rose, but Gash is on hand to clear.
17.48: Telford have a corner now after Coulson's scuffed clearance. St Aimee can't connect with the cross and Wellard blocks Brown's attempt at another cross, second corner.
17.46: Brown's attempted pass back to a colleague finds, er, no one and rolls behind for another U's corner. Cheap one that from the visitors, but it matters not as United can't profit, the busy Young eventually claiming the ball.
17.42: Pugh a little fortunate to get a free kick there under challenge from Brown. Over it comes from Andrew, it's headed up in the air by Coulson and Young comes to punch away. United keep the pressure on though, and win a corner thanks to some good work from Pugh. Over it comes, Gash gets a flick but the keeper claims ahead of McAuley.
17.38: Telford have seen more of the ball in the last few minutes, but United doing a good job of keeping them at arms length. Brown's attempts to win a corner are baulked by Hughes, and the ball rebounds away for a U's throw.
17.31: Gash with the knock-down to Berry, who manages to control and stab a shot towards goal which Young parries behind. Another corner, and the Telford keeper gets a good punch on Pugh's delivery. Hughes and Pugh try to work a crossing angle again, and when the ball does come in Gash can only head wide.
17.28: Great run from Thorpe earns the U's a corner, good to have him back in the fray. Pugh's initial corner is flapped away by Young, the ball is worked back to Pugh, then Hughes, who puts in a cross and McAuley plants a header onto the top of the cross bar and over. Should've scored there, Jez George holds his head, he knows what a good chance that was.
17.26: Davies has a go from distance but fires well over, that was never going to trouble Jonathan Hedge.
17.24: Telford left-back Taylor gets a talking to for taking out Hughes by the touchline. Could've been a booking that, but he gets away with it, and Pugh's free kick is poor and easily cleared.
17.20: Again Berry bursts into the box, this time his cross is a bit too high for Gash but it's chested behind at the back stick by a defender. Andrew's inswinger is too close to Young, who takes easily.
17.16: So close to an early goal for the U's, Wellard gets Berry away down the left, and his low centre is just too far in front of Gash. The ball comes back in and deflects behind off a defender for a corner, which Berry heads over.
17.15: Here we go, United get us underway attacking the South Stand.
17.10: The team's are out, Adam Miller gets a good reception from the crowd as he pops out onto the pitch before kick off. The midfielder had to announce his retirement earlier this week after a long running battle with an ankle injury.
16.45: TEAM NEWS. So, that team news then. Out go the injured Tom Elliott and the rested Michael Wylde, along with Rossi Jarvis, Robbie Willmott, Adriano Moke, and James Jennings, who don't make the squad. Into the starting line-up come Jonathan Thorpe, debutant Danny Andrew, Tom Shaw, Andy Pugh, and Michael Gash, who has just returned from a loan spell at Braintree. Adam Marriott is also back from his loan at Bishop's Stortford, and takes a place on the bench.
16.28: Hello everyone and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for this afternoon's clash between Cambridge United and AFC Telford. The U's will be looking to get back to winning ways after last week's horror show against Wrexham, and the line-up that will aim to right the wrongs of Saturday is a much changed one.