Appiah double sinks Salisbury
Substitute Kwesi Appiah struck a second half double as Cambridge United extended their unbeaten run to 16 matches with victory over Salisbury City.
Appiah was in the right place to capitalise on a slip-up from visiting keeper Will Puddy in the 49th minute, then ran onto a pass from Nathan Arnold to add a second seven minutes later.
After a poor first half, United really upped the tempo in the second period, and at the back were rarely troubled by the Whites.
Richard Money made three changes to the starting line-up, with Adam Cunnington, Mickey Spillane and Nathan Arnold coming into the side at the expense of Appiah, Liam Hughes and Luke Berry, all of whom were among the substitutes.
The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in a first half which saw neither side carve out a chance of note. Josh Coulson came closest to breaking the deadlock with a clearance which flicked off his boot and narrowly wide of his own goal after Elliot Frear’s dangerous cross.
United lost Tom Elliott just before the break when the striker pulled up after a run down the left flank. He was replaced by Appiah, who made an impact in the second half with two goals in seven minutes.
The first goal, which came four minutes after the restart, owed much to poor communication between Salisbury’s James Clarke and his goalkeeper Will Puddy. Puddy came out to reach a flick on by Cunnington, but could only kick the ball against the defender, and it rebounded kindly for Appiah to walk the ball into the empty net.
Then, with the U’s rampant, a lightning counter-attack in the 57th minute, the outstanding Nathan Arnold received the ball wide on the right and slipped a delicious pass inside for Appiah, who sprinted clear before planting a confident finish high past Puddy.
Salisbury’s first shot on target didn’t arrive until the 71st minute, substitute Clovis Kamdjo stinging the palms of Chris Maxwell. The Whites also won two free kicks on the edge of the box in the closing stages, but neither Ricky Wellard nor Ben Wright were able to hit the target.
So United claimed another three points to maintain their position at the top of the Skrill Conference Premier.
Next on the agenda for Money’s men is an FA Cup trip to Needham Market in a week’s time.
MayIClaim Man of the Match: Nathan Arnold.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Arnold, Dunk, Spillane (Berry 45), Champion, Cunnington (Sam-Yorke 72), Elliott (Appiah 41). Subs not used: Norris, Hughes.
Salisbury City: Puddy, Wilson, Clarke (Macdonald 80), Dutton, McPhee, Frear (Kamdjo 65), Wellard, Lewis (Feeney 75), Sinclair, Wright, Fitchett. Subs not used: Brett, Bittner.
Attendance: 3,622 (away 146)
Referee: Mrs A.Fearn
16.52: That's full time, another three points for the U's thanks to Appiah's double
16.49: Three minutes to be added. NATHAN ARNOLD is the MAYICLAIM MAN OF THE MATCH.
16.42: Another Salisbury free kick as Wright is pulled back by Coulson. Wright takes charge this time, but the end result is the same as the last effort, a shot over the bar.
16.38: Clarke makes a great block to foil Appiah in the six-yard box, but I think he's injured himself in the process. Indeed, he's being replaced by Macdonald for the last ten minutes.
16.36: Salisbury have made another substitute, veteran striker Warren Feeney joining the action in place of Lewis. And the visitors are convinced they should have had a penalty there as Wright tumbles under the tackle of the back-tracking Sam-Yorke. The contact started outside the box though, so it's a free kick a couple of yards outside the area. Wellard steps up but curls it disappointingly (for the visitors) high over the bar.
16.30: United with their final change, Delano Sam-Yorke coming on in place of Adam Cunnington.
16.26: YELLOW CARD. Berry caught late by McPhee, who will go into the book.
16.24: Clovis Kamdjo replaces Frear for the visitors, and registers the visitors' first shot on target with a poweful effort straight at Maxwell.
16.14: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-0 SALISBURY CITY. United have been well on top since the goal and get a second through that man KWESI APPIAH. A quick break from defence sees the ball fed wide to Arnold in space. He spots Appiah haring through the centre and plays a perfect pass into the Crystal Palace loanee's path, and he strides forward before striking a confident finish past Puddy. Super stuff, 2-0.
16.07: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 SALISBURY CITY. United lead thanks to KWESI APPIAH and the Salisbury defence. Clarke and Puddy get in a muddle as Cunnington flicks the ball forward, the Salisbury keeper's attempted clearance hits Clarke and spins into the path of Appiah, who walks the ball into the empty net.
16.05: Berry with an immediate burst out of his own half, feeding Arnold, who crosses into the box. Cunnington goes down under pressure but is penalised, Salisbury free kick.
16.03: United about to get the second half underway, and they've made another change, with Luke Berry replacing Mickey Spillane.
HALF TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-0 SALISBURY CITY
15.49: Two minutes to be added at the end of the half, United have time to be caught offside twice more. We've been offside a lot this half. Anyway, that's the end of the first 45 minutes, not a classic, and Richard Money will be hoping for more from his men in part two.
15.41: YELLOW CARD. Ooft, close call for Josh Coulson as he slices Frear's cross just wide of his own. United will make an enforced change now, with Kwesi Appiah coming on for Tom Elliott. Elliott had been playing well but pulled up slightly as he chased a ball down the left. The build up to the substitution sees a bizarre moment, with Maxwell booked for time-wasting as he waited for the change to be made.
15.29: United have been quite direct this half, looking for towering strikers Elliott and Cunnington with a lot of early passes. That's better possession football though, they work it across the pitch from right to left, Elliott eventually nodding the ball on to Taylor, whose low cross is blocked by the stretching Clarke.
15.21: Salisbury free kick conceded by an incredulous Spillane just inside U's territory. Swung into the box, and Dutton rises but can only head across the goal and harmlessly wide.
15.14: Good play from Elliott sees him head the ball on to Cunnington, who works it back to Arnold, but his cross is slightly overhit and his team-mates in the centre can't connect. Other than that Salisbury have probably had the better of it, the visitors are certainly seeing more of the ball.
15.05: Ball almost breaks for Cunnington bull-dozing his way into the area, Arnold nicks it off his toe and drags his shot across goal and wide. United think that was a corner, referee Fearn signals goal kick.
15.03: Couple of early corners for the U's, one from the right headed clear, then a Dunk delivery from the left headed down by Elliott but collected by Will Puddy.
15.00: Salisbury get us underway, attacking the Newmarket Road End. Their last visit here resulted in a 3-1 U's win, Danny Crow (2) and Scott Neilson with the goals.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Arnold, Dunk, Spillane, Champion, Cunnington, Elliott. Subs: Norris, Berry, Hughes, Sam-Yorke, Appiah.
Salisbury City: Puddy, Wilson, Clarke, Dutton, McPhee, Frear, Wellard, Lewis, Sinclair, Wright, Fitchett. Subs: Brett, Jamdjo, Feeney, Macdonald, Bittner.
TEAM NEWS: United make three changes, with Mickey Spillane, Nathan Arnold and Adam Cunnington coming into the starting line-up in place of Luke Berry, Liam Hughes and Kwesi Appiah, all of whom reside on the bench. Two ex-U's men in the Salisbury line-up; Ricky Wellard, who left United to join Salisbury last season, and Brian Dutton, signed by John Taylor as a young striker in 2003, but now an experienced non-league centre-back. It's probably a 3-5-2 formation for the visitors, with Wellard in the quarter-back role.
14.25: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for this afternoon's match between Cambridge United and Salisbury City. United face another side in great form this afternoon, with the Whites having lost just one of their last 12 games.