U's stroll to victory
Cambridge United turned on the style with three second half goals to see off Aldershot at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
United didn’t play to their best in the first period, but took the lead in stoppage time through Luke Berry’s header.
Kwesi Appiah made it 2-0 just after the restart, and United were in command once Adam Cunnington had slotted in the third. Substitute Nathan Arnold added gloss to the score-line with a fine individual effort.
Berry and Harrison Dunk returned to the starting line-up as Richard Money made two changes to the side beaten at Southport. Berry took the place of Mickey Spillane, while Dunk came in for Mitch Austin.
United had plenty of possession in the first half, but found it difficult to break down the massed ranks of the visiting defence. With just Brett Williams stationed up front, the Shots showed why they have proved such difficult opponents on the road this season, getting nine men behind the ball at every opportunity.
That said, the visitors created the better chances when they did break forward, Chris Maxwell saving sharply from Jordan Roberts after the winger’s neat turn caught the U’s defence napping. Greg Taylor had to be alert to block Williams’ follow-up.
Maxwell also saved from Williams at his near post after a slip from Josh Coulson, but as the half progressed United got stronger, winning a series of corners without troubling visiting keeper Jonathan Henley.
But they finally made the breakthrough in stoppage time at the end of the first half, after Appiah had seen a shot pushed behind by Henley. Tait’s delivery found Berry arriving at the back post, and his downward header bounced up and into the net.
The goal gave the U’s confidence, and they started the second period on the front foot, doubling their advantage in the 54th minute through Appiah. The on-loan striker had missed a gilt-edged chance to score seconds earlier, shooting weakly at the keeper after a mistake from Webster. But from the resulting corner he was in the right place to slot home after Berry’s shot came back off the post.
With the R Costings Abbey Stadium rocking, United poured forward and Hughes dashed down the right, before playing the ball inside to Berry. Though he was tackled the ball ran to Cunnington, who slotted the ball home through the keeper’s legs.
Money rang the changes, bringing on Delano Sam-Yorke, Nathan Arnold and Kevin Roberts. Arnold’s pace tormented the tiring defence, and he added a fabulous solo fourth goal, controlling on the edge of the box and wriggling past three defenders and smashing a low shot past the exposed Henley.
The win takes United seven points clear at the top of the table after Kidderminster’s draw with Macclesfield. The U’s travel to Barnet on Saturday.
MayIClaim Man of the Match: Liam Hughes.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Hughes, Dunk, Champion, Berry (Roberts 69), Cunnington, Appiah (Arnold 67). Subs not used: Norris, Austin.
Aldershot Town: Henley, Butler, Goodman, Webster, Barker, Roberts (Paterson 77), Mekki (Gibbs 77), Rowlands (Young 57), Stanley, Williams, Oyeleke. Subs not used: Douglas, Williams.
Attendance: 3,110 (away 156)
Referee: Mr P.Bankes
21.33: Three minutes to be added, a good night's work from United, who have looked supremely comfortable in the second half.
21.30: Dancing feet from Harrison Dunk makes space for a decent cross which Hughes meets but his diving header is well wide.
21.23: Double change for the Shots a few moments ago, Paterson and Gibbs on for Mekki and Roberts. LIAM HUGHES has been voted the MAYICLAIM MAN OF THE MATCH.
21.21: Chance for number five there, Arnold sprints between two defenders but tries to square it to Sam-Yorke when the shot was on and Aldershot hack the ball clear.
21.19: Mekki goes down 25 yards from goal, and Aldershot have a free kick. Roberts takes, and it's a good one, curling into the top corner until Maxwell leaps to touch it over.
21.16: United's final change sees the hard working Cunnington replaced by Delano Sam-Yorke. Tonight's attendance is 3,110, with 156 away fans.
21.14: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 4-0 ALDERSHOT TOWN. Wow, stunning individual goal from NATHAN ARNOLD, who receives the ball on the edge of the box, weaves between three defenders and lashes the ball gleefully past Henley. United's 100 per cent home record is set to survive another week.
21.11: Now the U's make another change, Kevin Roberts coming on in midfield for Luke Berry.
21.09: First change for the U's, with Kwesi Appiah trooping off to great applause. He's replaced by Nathan Arnold.
21.00: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3-0 ALDERSHOT TOWN: It gets better for United, they win the ball centre field and break down the right with Hughes. He advances into the box and tries to set up Berry, and though the midfielder is tackled as he's about to shot, the ball runs to ADAM CUNNINGTON who slots in through the keeper's legs. In the aftermath of the goal Aldershot introduce Lewis Young in place of Martin Rowlands.
20.54: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-0 ALDERSHOT TOWN: That's better, United in command thanks to KWESI APPIAH. Appiah had just missed a sitter, presented with the ball eight yards out he could only poke a weak shot goalwards which Henley deflected behind. But from the resulting corner he was in the right place to smash the ball in after Berry's shot hit the foot of the post. 2-0.
20.47: Second half underway, U's leading through that Berry goal.
HALF TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 ALDERSHOT TOWN
20.32: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 ALDERSHOT TOWN. Just what the doctor ordered. Appiah gets in behind and sees his angled shot tipped behind for a corner. Tait takes, it's lofted to the back post and LUKE BERRY steals in to guide a header down and into the net. The half-time whistle goes seconds later, lovely stuff.
20.30: Two minutes to be added. This hasn't been United's best half of the season, they've yet to test visiting keeper Jonathan Henley
20.25: Hughes wins a good flick on and finds Appiah, who spins away from his man and takes aim from 25 yards. Unfortunately his shot is off target and flies a couple of feet wide.
20.20: Appiah down receiving treatment, seems to be ok to continue though. There was a bit of handbags between Roberts and Tait a few moments ago, earning both a talking to from the referee.
20.15: Dunk and Taylor combine with a swift one-two which sees Taylor gallop into the area before his cross is put behind for a corner. Tait takes it, but it's headed away.
20.12: Intelligent flick from Cunnington tries to find Hughes, but a defender gets across to clear behind. Aldershot defending in numbers, and they do so from this corner, with Cunnington penalised for pushing. Visitors free kick.
20.08: Coulson dallies and Williams nicks the ball off him wide on the left, before haring into the box and firing in a powerful shot at the near post which Maxwell tips behind. Corner Shots, but though it's initially headed up in the air United eventually complete the clearance.
20.05: Good cross from the dangerous Roberts, but no one can get a touch and United clear.
19.58: First moment of danger for the Shots, Oyeleke finding Roberts, who spins away from his man but sees his shot parried to safety by Maxwell. Williams latches onto the rebound but is denied by Greg Taylor's block, and the U's clear.
19.54: Berry finds Dunk, who speeds past a couple of defenders but can only drag a right-footed shot well wide.
19.50: Cunnington with a flick on to Appiah, who controls and turns but sees his shot blocked by a defender.
19.47: United on the front foot in the opening minutes, winning a corner. In it comes from Dunk, Hughes wins the header but the keeper palms it away to safely and a defender completes the clearance.
19.45: Kick off, United attacking the Newmarket Road End.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Hughes, Dunk, Champion, Berry, Cunnington, Appiah. Subs: Roberts, Norris, Austin, Sam-Yorke, Arnold.
Aldershot Town: Henley, Butler, Goodman, Webster, Barker, Roberts, Mekki, Rowlands, Stanley, Williams, Oyeleke. Subs: Paterson, Douglas, Williams, Gibbs, Young.
19.25: TEAM NEWS: United make two changes from the Southport match, with Harrison Dunk replacing Mitch Austin, who's on the bench, and Luke Berry returning in place of Mickey Spillane, who drops out all together. Kevin Roberts, back from his loan spell at Brackley, is on the bench.
No ex-U's in the Aldershot team, but they do have some experience to call on in the form of Craig Stanley, Martin Rowlands and Chris Barker.
19.15: Good evening and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for tonight's match between Cambridge United and Aldershot Town. The U's are looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Southport last time out, but will have to breach a strong Shots defence to do so.