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6 December 2014

Replay looms after Appiah equaliser

Kwesi Appiah netted a stoppage time leveller to earn Cambridge United an FA Cup replay as they drew 2-2 with Mansfield Town.

The U’s suffered an early blow when Rakish Bingham nodded the Stags in front from Rob Taylor’s left-wing cross. But they levelled six minutes later when Luke Chadwick was put through by Liam Hughes and slotted under Sascha Studer.

United enjoyed the majority of the ball in the second half, but appeared to be heading out of the competition when Tom Champion headed past his own keeper with ten minutes to go.

But Appiah’s late strike means the teams will do battle again at Field Mill.

Richard Money made one enforced changed to his starting line-up. With Jordan Chiedozie cup-tied, Luke Chadwick came into the side. On the bench, Money was able to welcome back Ryan Donaldson after a three-week absence due to injury.

And, as at Wimbledon last week, the U’s gave themselves a mountain to climb by conceding an early goal. Four minutes were on the clock when Mansfield found themselves with a man over down the U’s right. Robert Taylor was that man and his cross found Bingham, who climbed unchallenged at the back post to head in.

The Stags finding space down the flanks was to prove a theme of the half, but United got themselves back on level terms in the 10th minute. Liam Hughes picked up a loose pass and slotted the ball through to Chadwick, who kept his cool to slide the ball under the advancing Studer.

Chadwick had a lively half, linking well with Appiah on a number of occasions. The on-loan Crystal Palace saw a shot well-saved by Studer after Chadwick’s precise through ball, then on the stroke of half-time a fine move involving Chadwick and Ryan Bird saw the ball worked into Appiah, who dragged his shot across goal.

Mansfield threatened throughout the half thanks mainly to the dangerous wing-play of Taylor and Reggie Lambe. Bingham should have done better when he got free in the area to meet Lambe’s floated cross, but could only head well over. Then a header from Lambe himself had to be hacked clear by Michael Nelson.

The second half was mainly one way traffic, with the U’s pushing their opponents back without testing the keeper. Appiah should have done better at the back post after Nelson had flicked a corner into his path, but he could could only scuff a shot straight into the arms of Studer.

Though the visitors seemed happy with a replay, the travelling fans were celebrating a second goal when a free kick from Taylor flicked off the head of Champion and rolled into the bottom corner.

And when Appiah’s powerful effort was clawed away by Studer, it seemed as though the game was up. But then a long free kick into the box from Tait was flicked on by Nelson, and Appiah found a yard of space to control and poke the ball into the net, meaning both teams will be in the hat for Monday’s third round draw.

May I Claim Man of the Match: Richard Tait.

Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, G.Taylor, Coulson, Nelson, Kaikai (Blair 53), Chadwick (Donaldson 67’), Champion, Hughes, Appiah, Bird (Simpson 75). Subs not used: Norris, Atkinson, B.Taylor, Naylor.

Mansfield Town: Studer, Sutton, Beevers, Riley, Tafazolli, Taylor, Lambe, Heslop, Clements (McGuire 73), Bingham (Palmer 56), Oliver (Bell 62). Subs not used: Rhead, Marsden, Waterfall, Fletcher.

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 3,869 (away 343)

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