U's overcome the Silkmen
Kwesi Appiah signed off in front of the R Costings Abbey Stadium faithful with two goals and an assist as Cambridge United saw off Macclesfield Town.
Appiah, whose loan spell from Crystal Palace ends this weekend, opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a superb individual goal, then took advantage of some slack defending to make it 2-0 seven minutes later.
United had chances to increase their lead in the second half, but didn’t add a third until ten minutes from time when Josh Gillies marked his home debut with a composed finish from 18 yards.
Richard Money made a couple of changes from Sunday’s defeat against Sheffield United, with Kevin Roberts handed his first league start of the season at the expense of Richard Tait, and Carlisle loanee Josh Gillies replacing Harrison Dunk.
Adam Cunnington saw an early shot from distance parried out by Rhys Taylor, but the game really exploded into life when Appiah opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Picking up the ball inside his own half, the Crystal Palace loanee accelerated past two defenders before slamming in a powerful shot from 25 yards.
Seven minutes later Appiah was celebrating again, this time taking advantage of some slack defending to steal the ball, lob it over Halls and poke a shot beyond the reach of Taylor.
Macclesfield hit the post through a deflected shot from Rowe, but for the most part United were well in charge, and could’ve had added several more goals in the second half but for the efforts of Taylor.
The Silkmen’s keeper made a superb double stop to foil Appiah and Cunnington, and got finger-tips to another Appiah shot which looked to be heading into the bottom corner. He then got down well at his near post to foil Cunnington after the striker had connected with a Roberts’ cross.
Eventually the third goal did come from Gillies, who raced onto Appiah’s pass, cut in from the flank and found the net with a low shot which seemed to slip under the unfortunate Taylor.
So United’s lead at the top is back to four points ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy tie at St Albans City.
May I Claim Man of the Match: Kwesi Appiah
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Roberts, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Hughes, Gillies, Champion, Berry, Cunnington, Appiah (Arnold 88). Subs: Austin, Spillane, Ledsham, Brown.
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Andrew, Martin (O’Connor 26), Williams, Halls, Rowe (Kay 54), Mackreth, Whittaker, Turnbull, Boden (Holroyd 79), Jennings. Subs not used: Winn, Lewis.
Referee: Mr S.Bennett
Attendance: 2,224 (away 28)
21.28: Appiah gets a standing ovation as he's replaced by Nathan Arnold. Last home appearance of Kwesi's loan spell, which ends this weekend. Quite a way to sign off, two goals and an assist.
21.21: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3-0 MACCLESFIELD TOWN. Lovely stuff, United wrap things up through JOSH GILLIES. Champion does brilliantly to break up play and find Appiah, who spots Gillies making tracks down the left. The winger cuts in from the flanks, dodges a couple of defenders and hits a shot through Taylor and into the net.
21.20: Holroyd on for Boden as the visitors make their final change.
21.17: That's woken the crowd up. Good cross from Roberts, Cunnington rises but sees his header well saved by Taylor, and as Berry follows up with a shot a brave defender blocks. United still haven't found the third their play probably deserves.
21.07: YELLOW CARD. Appiah in the book for kicking the ball away. Sloppy, Richard Money won't like that.
21.06: Series of three corners from Macclesfield, the first of which was well fisted away by Maxwell from almost underneath the bar.
20.59: Close to an Appiah hat-trick, the ball bounces kindly for Kwesi in the area, but his angled shot is just wide of the post. The NRE are furious because they think the keeper saved that, but a goal kick is given.
20.54: Kay replaces Rowe for Macclesfield.
20.51: That should have been 3-0, Roberts does ever so well to beat his man and put in the cross. Appiah's volley is well-saved by Taylor, who also blocks Cunnington's follow-up. Cunnington should have put that away.
20.46: Back underway here at the R Costings Abbey Stadium, no changes at the break.
HALF TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-0 MACCLESFIELD TOWN
20.31: YELLOW CARD. Into the second of the two minutes injury time, and Connor Jennings goes in the book for a poor tackle on Champion, who had nipped past him and was heading into Macc territory. Half-time whistle sounds shortly afterwards, United will be quite happy that half's work, they lead thanks to Appiah's double.
20.23: Appiah with a chance to complete his hat-trick from Liam Hughes' free kick, but his flicked header flies a few yards wide.
20.20: The visitors with a corner now as Rowe's cross deflects behind. In it comes but Greg Taylor makes a good clearing header and as Macc try to regroup Berry is fouled on the edge of the box. U's free kick.
20.16: Macc with a reminder that they're still very much in this. United can't clear a cross from the left and Rowe nips in but sees his powerful shot deflected onto the post with Maxwell beaten.
20.09: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-0 MACCLESFIELD TOWN. United in charge as KWESI APPIAH bags his second. Macc fail to deal with a long ball over the top, Williams heads sideways and sees his effort seized on by Appiah, who lifts the ball over one defender and pokes the ball past the keeper.
20.07: Early change for Macc as Martin is replaced by O'Connor. Kevin Roberts then curls a cross/shot which has Taylor scrambling but flies a few yards wide.
20.02: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 MACCLESFIELD TOWN. Lovely individual goal from KWESI APPIAH and United are in front. Picking the ball up inside his own half, Appiah sprinted forward, going past a couple of defenders, holding off a third and smashing the ball low into the net. Taylor got a hand on it but couldn't keep it out, 1-0 U's.
19.58: Ball over the top sees Appiah get in behind the defence. He just about reaches it before it goes out and hooks in a cross which Cunnington, arriving six yards out, can only head over. Difficult chance, the defender did well there to lever him off the ball.
19.53: Chances at both ends, as Adam Cunnington takes aim from fully 30 yards but sees his shot palmed away fairly comfortably by Taylor in the Macc goal. Then at the other end Coulson has the ball nicked off him by Boden, who scampers into the box but his shot spins away off a defender and United clear their lines.
19.44: Kick off, U's getting the action underway attacking the South Stand.
19.41: The teams are coming out. Last season United won this match 2-0, a repeat performance would do nicely.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Roberts, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Hughes, Gillies, Champion, Berry, Cunnington, Appiah. Subs: Austin, Spillane, Ledsham, Arnold, Brown.
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Andrew, Martin, Williams, Halls, Rowe, Mackreth, Whittaker, Turnbull, Boden, Jennings. Subs: O'Connor, Holroyd, Winn, Lewis, Kay.
19.25: TEAM NEWS. United make two changes, with Kevin Roberts coming in for Richard Tait, and Josh Gillies replacing Harrison Dunk. Neither Dunk nor Tait are in the squad at all, while Tom Bonner and Delano Sam-Yorke also miss out. United's strength in depth is decent.
Macclesfield feature two ex-U's loanees in their squad, Danny Andrew in the starting XI and Peter Winn on the bench, where he sits alongside Chris Holroyd, whose career has stalled somewhat since departing United for Brighton in 2009. Their dangerman is Connor Jennings, brother of ex-U's left-back James, who starts up front alongside Scott Boden.
19.20: Good evening everyone and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for this evening's Skrill Conference Premier match between Cambridge United and Macclesfield Town. After Sunday's exertions against Sheffield United, the U's will be looking to bounce straight back by maintaining their 100 per cent home league record against the fast-improving Silkmen.