U's back to winning ways in style
Cambridge United got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion, smashing five goals past Kidderminster Harriers at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
A poor first half from the U’s saw them fall behind to Anthony Malbon’s goal. But they rallied just before the break, and Josh Coulson’s deflected shot sent them in level.
After half-time the floodgates opened, with Ryan Bird and Delano Sam-Yorke scoring twice in quick succession, before Luke Berry - from the penalty spot - and substitute Andy Pugh added gloss to the score-line late on.
Richard Money made five changes, with Richard Tait and Ian Miller coming into defence at the expense of Kevin Roberts and Tom Bonner. On the flanks, Ryan Donaldson and Nathan Arnold got the nod ahead of Pugh and Liam Hughes, while up front Sam-Yorke, recalled from a loan spell at Luton, started in place of Matthew Barnes-Homer, who has gone out on loan to Tamworth.
Kidderminster came into the match on a good run of form, and began in confident mood, pressing United well and using the full width of the pitch. In a half of few chances, Sam-Yorke saw a shot blocked by Lee Vaughan and Kyle Storer shot well over when well placed.
The deadlock was broken in the 26th minute, with the lively Adrian Cieslewicz wriggling past Greg Taylor near the touchline and pulling the ball back for Malbon, who smashed a first-time shot past Will Norris.
Up to that point United’s passing and tempo had been poor, but they put together a good spell of pressure following the goal, which paid off three minutes before the interval. Donaldson’s corner was cleared back to the winger, whose floated cross found Ryan Bird at the back post. He hooked the ball back into the box where Coulson was on hand to fire in a first-time shot that took a massive deflection on its way into the net.
Little did we know what was in store in the second period, and United turned the match on its head with goals in the 53rd and 55th minutes. First some delightful passing saw Sam-Yorke pick up the ball inside the area, and his driven cross was headed home from close range by Bird. Then Hughes chipped the ball down the left for Sam-Yorke to chase, and he held off his man before dinking a super finish across Vaughan and into the far corner.
Harriers had their chances to get back into the match, Norris saving well from Cieslewicz and Lee Vaughan hammering in a low shot which went just wide. Josh Gowling was also unlucky with a volley from a corner that flew just wide.
But a penalty 11 minutes from time dashed the visitors’ hopes of a comeback. Hughes chipped the ball into the area for Nathan Arnold, who was brought down by Gowling. The defender escaped with no further punishment, other than Berry’s penalty, which was thumped down the middle of the goal.
Substitute Pugh was on hand to round things off, arriving at the back post to smash in a half-volley after a cross from fellow replacement Mitchell Austin.
Next up for the U’s is an away fixture with Forest Green on Saturday.
May I Claim Man of the Match: Delano Sam-Yorke
Cambridge United: Norris, Tait, Taylor, Miller, Coulson, Donaldson (Pugh 86), Arnold, Berry, Champion (Hughes 52), Bird (Austin 75), Sam-Yorke. Subs not used: Sullivan, Gillies.
Kidderminster Harriers: N.Vaughan, L.Vaughan, Jackman, Dunkley, Gowling, Ciezlewicz, Byrne (Rowe 61), Storer, O'Keefe (Gittings 84), Malbon, Morgan-Smith. Subs not used: Lewis, Demetriou, Aloi.
Referee : Mr J.Amey
Attendance: 2,528 (away 176)
FULL TIME: Cambridge United 5-1 Kidderminster Harriers.
16.49: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 5-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. Into stoppage time and ANDY PUGH puts the icing on an extremely delicious United cake. Austin's cross is too high for DSY in the centre, but just right for Pugh who smashes home at the back post. The Newmarket Road End is bouncing.
16.44: Chances at both ends, ball runs to Sam-Yorke in the box but his shot is saved by Vaughan's legs. Then at the other end Cieslewicz finds space but Norris stands up to parry his angled drive.
16.42: Final U's change, Pugh replaces Donaldson.
16.38: Harriers change, O'Keefe off, Gittings on.
16.36: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 4-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. Penalty United, as Hughes chips the ball into the box for Arnold, who gets in behind Gowling and is brought down by the centre-back. Bizarrely, the ref doesn't even deem that a bookable offence, even though Arnold had N.Vaughan in the Harriers goal at his mercy. No matter, LUKE BERRY is on penalty duties again, and blasts the ball down the middle. 4-1, lovely.
16.33: YELLOW CARD. Arnold will go in the book for that, goes down in the box looking for a penalty he was never going to get. Mr Amey says that's a dive and the winger is shown a yellow card. United then make their second change, Bird heads off, Mitch Austin comes on.
16.28: Today's attendance is 2,528 (away 176).
16.23: Kidderminster getting a lot of joy down our left, and here goes Malbon, who makes room for a shot which is blocked by the sprawling Norris.
16.19: United living dangerously since the goal, Cieslewicz with a low shot which Norris grabs and hangs onto, then Lee Vaughan overlapping well and firing in a low shot which zips past the far post. They also have Ryan Rowe on the pitch, he has replaced Byrne.
16.11: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 3-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. And that's three! Hughes with the pass down the right for SAM-YORKE, who holds off a defender and somehow lofts a shot across the goal and into the far corner from an impossible angle. Lovely stuff, DSY's first United goal since the opening day of the season.
16.09: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. United lead and it's a lovely team goal, Hughes and Donaldson getting the ball into Sam-Yorke, who fires in a cross which RYAN BIRD heads in from a yard out. United lead.
16.07: Here comes a United change, Liam Hughes on for Tom Champion. Donaldson has gone into centre midfield with Berry, Hughes wide right.
16.05: Kiddy with a free kick near half-way, Storer delivers into the box, Gowling finds space on the far side but heads across goal and wide. Norris watched that confidently away for a goal kick.
16.04: Lovely pass left to right from Arnold finds Donaldson, who puts a low cross into the near post, where Bird controls but shoots into the side netting.
16.02: United get us back underway for the second half.
HALF TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS
15.45: Donaldson almost catches Vaughan out as he goes for goal directly from a left-wing free kick and lofts a shot just over. Half-time whistle sounds shortly afterwards, United finished the half well after 30 minutes of mediocrity. But after a good spell of pressure, Coulson's deflected goal means we go into half-time in positive mood.
15.41: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. United level, it was a bit lucky but we'll take it. Donaldson's corner deep to the back post, Bird lofts it back in and JOSH COULSON'S first time shot takes a massive deflection off Dunkley and wrong foots Vaughan.
15.36: YELLOW CARD. United have had a couple of free kicks in promising positions. Both wasted. Now Cieslewicz will go in the book as he prevents Taylor taking a quick free kick near half-way.
15.31: United have bodies in the box here as they try and muster an immediate response. Donaldson and Berry work the ball to Bird, who checks back onto his left-foot and curls a shot a foot or so over.
15.30: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. It's a goal for the visitors and it's ANTHONY MALBON with it. Cieslewicz does brilliantly to sneak past Taylor near the byline and pull the ball back for Malbon to rifle in a first-time shot. First shot on target of the match, and the first goal.
15.23: Raking pass from Champion releases Tait on the right, but his cross is just too high for Bird who was arriving at the back post.
15.14: Better from United in the last few minutes, they win the ball well on the left-side and Champion chips a pass down the channel for Sam-Yorke, who cuts into the box but sees his shot blocked by Lee Vaughan.
15.10: Morgan-Smith jinks past a couple of challenges in the box, but tries to lay it back to Storer, who can't get his shot off.
15.08: Vaughan wins Kiddy their first corner of the afternoon. It's taken by Storer dangerously into the box, but no one can get a touch. As it's crossed back in the flag goes up for offside against Morgan-Smith.
15.05: Five minutes in, not much to report. Both teams enjoying ball in midfield but not managing to fashion a chance as yet.
15.00: Kick off, Kiddy get us underway attacking the NRE.
14.57: Here come the teams, kick off is approaching. United in their regular amber and black kit, Kiddeminster in red and white.
14.50: Lovely sunny afternoon here at the R Costings Abbey Stadium. Last season Kidderminster triumphed here 3-1, with Ryan Rowe netting a second half hat-trick. Worryingly Rowe is on the bench today. United's last victory here against Kiddy came in August 2009, Lee McEvilly netting both goals in a 2-1 win.
Cambridge United: Norris, Tait, Taylor, Miller, Coulson, Donaldson, Arnold, Berry, Champion, Bird, Sam-Yorke. Subs: Sullivan, Pugh, Austin, Hughes, Gillies.
Kidderminster Harriers: N.Vaughan, L.Vaughan, Jackman, Dunkley, Gowling, Ciezlewicz, Byrne, Storer, O'Keefe, Malbon, Morgan-Smith. Subs: Lewis, Demetriou, Gittings, Rowe, Aloi.
14.20: TEAM NEWS. The teams are in, and United make five changes, with Ian Miller, Ryan Donaldson, Nathan Arnold, Richard Tait and Delano Sam-Yorke coming in for Tom Bonner, Kevin Roberts, Liam Hughes, Andy Pugh and Matthew Barnes-Homer. Pugh and Hughes are on the bench.
Former loanee Danny Jackman is the only ex-U in the Kidderminster line-up. Michael Gash was out warming up
14.15: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for Cambridge United vs Kidderminster Harriers. The U's will be looking to get back to winning ways after three home games without a victory, but face a difficult task against Kidderminster, another team chasing a play-off place.