U's claim another win
Cambridge United dispatched big-spending Forest Green Rovers in an entertaining match at the R Costings Abbey Stadium to regain top spot in the Skrill Premier.
United led from the first minute, when Luke Berry took advantage of some hesitant goalkeeping from Sam Russell to shoot home. It didn't get any better for Russell in the second half, as he allowed Tom Champion's header to squirm under his body as the U's doubled their advantage. Yan Klukowski got Rovers back in the match four minutes later, but United hung on despite an injury to Ryan Donaldson.
Richard Money made two changes to his starting line-up, with Berry and Tait returning to the side at the expense of Liam Hughes and Michael Spillane.
Berry picked up the Skrill Premier Player of the Month award before the match, and within 48 seconds of kick off he was celebrating again after scoring the opening goal. Tait’s cross was flapped away unconvincingly by Rovers’ keeper Sam Russell, and Berry coolly steered the ball into the gaping goal.
Rovers expensively-assembled team was never going to let United have it all their own way though, and Chris Maxwell had to make a good save to stop Andy Mangan’s header. Matthew Barnes-Homer also headed wide on a couple of occasions, while Anthony Barry tried his luck from distance but Maxwell saved comfortably.
At the other end Kwesi Appiah’s shot was dealt with by Russell, and Richard Tait thundered a powerful effort against the cross bar.
Rovers boss Dave Hockaday rang the changes after the break, but United made it 2-0 when Champion found space at the back post to meet a Donaldson corner, and his header crept across the line.
Four minutes later it was 2-1 when half-time substitute Klukowski took advantage of a spill from Maxwell to poke the ball into the unguarded goal.
The U’s then lost Donaldson, who was stretchered off after going down under a fairly innocuous looking challenge. But Money’s men saw the game out well, with Cunnington and substitute Nathan Arnold passing up good chances to make it 3-1.
So the U’s unbeaten run continues, and they will be looking to extend it again on Tuesday night when Nuneaton Town visit the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
MayIClaim Man of the Match: Luke Berry
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Miller, Coulson, Donaldson (Hughes 74), Dunk, Champion, Berry, Cunnington, Appiah (Arnold 65). Subs not used: Norris, Sam-Yorke, Spillane.
Forest Green Rovers: Russell, Stokes, Oshodi, Bennett, Turley, Bangura, Barry, Taylor (Klukowski 45), Barnes-Homer, Wright (Vieira 67), Mangan (Norwood 55). Subs not used: Hodgkiss, Bulman.
Referee: Mr Rob Whitton
Attendance: 2915 (away 51)
FULL TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS
16.52: YELLOW CARD Champion in the book now for a foul on some bloke, but it doesn't matter, the final whistle goes! United made to work hard for it but clinch the three points.
16.51: YELLOW CARD. Cunnington in the book for a lunging tackle down near the FGR corner flag as the U's run down the clock.
16.47: Five minutes to be added and oh my word, that could have wrapped it up for the U's. Arnold picks a defenders pocket, sets himself but sees his shot blocked by Russell's legs.
16.40: YELLOW CARD. Another Rovers man gets a yellow, this time it's Stokes for a high foot on Cunnington. United free kick half way inside FGR territory. Tait delivers, the ball bounces around on the edge of the FGR box and eventually Dunk's shot is gathered by Russell.
16.36: YELLOW CARD. Norwood in the book now for a foul on Tait, that was a bit harsh I think. LUKE BERRY is today's MAYICLAIM MAN OF THE MATCH.
16.34: Ouch, Donaldson appears to be in a lot of pain as he goes down under a fairly inocuous challenge. Looked like he pulled some kind of muscle in his leg. Anyway, after some minutes of treatment he's stretchered off, Hughes is on in his place.
16.29: YELLOW CARD. Maxwell claims a corner well, but is fouled by Barnes-Homer as he goes to kick the ball upfield. That'll be a booking for the striker.
16.25: Final Rovers change, Magno Vieira coming on for Danny Wright.
16.22: Nice counter from the U's, Dunk plays in Taylor, his low cross finds Cunnington unmarked, but Russell makes a brilliant save with his feet and the ball goes away for a U's throw. They'll be a change now, Arnold replacing Kwesi Appiah.
16.14: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS. United's two goal lead is short-lived, cross comes in from Barnes-Homer, Maxwell goes down to save but the ball spins off his gloves and KLUKOWSKI taps in.
16.11: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-0 FOREST GREEN ROVERS. United double their lead after a spell of pressure around the box, which results in a corner. The first flag kick is flapped behind by the nervy looking Russell, and the second delivery from Donaldson finds TOM CHAMPION at the back post. His header is good, on target, but straight at Russell, who allows it to squirm under his body and into the net.
16.08: Now United threaten from a free kick, Donaldson's ball in headed just wide by Coulson.
16.06: Ooft, free kick into the box falls kindly for the offside-looking Mangan, but the ball comes at him pretty quickly and he can only guide his volley well wide of the target.
16.03: Back underway at the R Costings Abbey Stadium. Klukowski has replaced Taylor for the visitors.
HALF TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 FOREST GREEN ROVERS
15.46: One minute added on, which passes by without incident. United lead at half-time thanks to Berry's first minute goal. FGR have given it a good go, but have yet to find their way through United's well organised back line. Back in a bit.
15.40: Boom, game had been quiet for a bit but Richard Tait wakes us up with a rocket of a shot from the right angle that beats Russell but comes back off the face of the bar. Cunnington can't control the rebound as it flies past him, almost 2-0 U's.
15.31: YELLOW CARD. Throw in to the U's, but before that Turley will go in the book for an earlier foul on Appiah. The centre-back being punished for persistent fouling there I think.
15.27: Oshodi and Bangura all over Cunnington there, that's a foul despite their protests and a free kick to the U's 35 yards out. In it goes from Dunk, Coulson's flick falls to Donaldson, but his shot is miscued wide.
15.25: Defensive header falls kindly for Appiah on the edge of the box, he takes a touch to steady himself but his low shot is easily saved by Russell.
15.22: Rovers with a corner now, but before that Turley will get a talking to for an earlier foul on Champion. Corner flicked on by Wright but to no one in particular and it's out on the far side for a throw in.
15.19: Some dubious decisions going on at present, looked to me like Barnes-Homer was fouling there, but Champion is the one penalised. Another FGR free kick in a good position to curl a cross into the box. Stokes does this but it's headed away and Berry sends Dunk on his way down the right, but his cross is too high for Appiah in the centre.
15.16: Barry lines up a free kick on half way, and floats it into the box. Oshodi heads across goal but Barnes-Homer flicks his header wide.
15.14: Barry takes aim from 25 yards but that's straight down the throat of Maxwell. Cunnington was off the pitch a moment ago receiving treatment but he's back on his feet now and seems ok. He'd been tackled in robust fashion by Turley.
15.10: Another looper from Stokes, this time Barnes-Homer rises under pressure from Taylor and glances a header wide.
15.06: Blimey, it's all happening. First Miller has to make a great tackle to deny Wright after a misplaced pass from Champion, then Mangan flicks a header goalwards from Stokes' cross and Maxwell has to make a great full-stretch save to parry to safety.
15.04: Back and fourth here already, FGR with a free kick in a good position cleared by United to good effect by Berry, who sends Harrison Dunk away down the left, and he wins a corner off the back-tracking Bennett. Corner comes in but Miller is fouling someone, free kick to the visitors.
15.01: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 FOREST GREEN. Unbelievable, United in front inside 90 seconds. Tait with the cross, Russell in the Rovers goal flaps at the cross and can only palm it down to LUKE BERRY, who steers the ball into the empty net. United lead.
14.58: Luke Berry just receiving his August Skrill Premier Player of the Month award on the pitch at the moment, we'll be underway momentarily, United attacking the South Stand.
14.54: Last season this match finished 0-0, and apparently five of the last six meetings between the sides have ended all square. Seems unlikely they'll be a lack of goals today - as well as the attacking quartet in the starting line-up, the visitors have a talented bench featuring Vieira, James Norwood and Yan Klukowski. United's options aren't too bad either of course. Here come the teams.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Miller, Coulson, Donaldson, Dunk, Champion, Berry, Cunnington, Appiah. Subs: Norris, Hughes, Sam-Yorke, Spillane, Arnold.
Forest Green Rovers: Russell, Stokes, Oshodi, Bennett, Turley, Bangura, Barry, Taylor, Barnes-Homer, Wright, Mangan. Subs: Hodgkiss, Norwood, Klukowski, Vieira, Bulman.
14.40: TEAM NEWS: United make two changes, with Richard Tait and Luke Berry coming back into the team at the expense of Liam Hughes and Michael Spillane. No sign of Tom Elliott, but Delano Sam-Yorke is back on the bench following a spell out injured.
Rovers start the match with four strikers in the team, that's some statement of intent away from home. One of those is ex-U's and Histon man Danny Wright, while another former United forward, Magno Vieira, is on the bench.
14.30: Afternoon everyone and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for Cambridge United vs Forest Green Rovers. With the U's second in the table and today's visitors being many bookies' favourites for the title, today's match promises to be a real treat. So it'll probably finish 0-0.