Appiah's goal sends U's into round two
Kwesi Appiah’s strike ten minutes from time sent Cambridge United into the second round of the FA Cup at the expense of ten-man Fleetwood.
Appiah started and finished the move that resulted in the only goal of the game, finding Robbie Simpson in space then sweeping home a fine first-time finish after Simpson had played the ball back into his path.
Overall it was a game of few chances, and Jamie Proctor’s red card swung it in United’s favour. Chris Dunn was forced into one fantastic save late on to parry Tom Hitchcock’s close-range header.
With League One opposition in town, Richard Money strengthened his midfield by drafting in Liam Hughes and Tom Naylor at the expense of Robbie Simpson and Luke Chadwick, who dropped to the bench. Ryan Donaldson was suspended, so Harrison Dunk came in on the left flank.
The U’s chose to attack the Newmarket Road End in the first half, and with the strong wind at their backs, they enjoyed the majority of possession without creating any chances of note. Maxwell had a couple of uncertain moments dealing with back passes, one of which was charged down by Appiah but span away to safety.
United also enjoyed plenty of set pieces, with two free kicks from Hughes and one from Appiah being charged down by the wall, and a number of corners failing to find their targets.
Fleetwood’s only effort of note was a looping header from Stephen Crainey, who reached a Jeff Hughes cross ahead of Dunn but could only guide his effort onto the roof of the net.
After the restart, United continued to force the issue with little success, though Tom Elliott saw a header saved by Maxwell then shot wide from 18 yards. The striker had hobbled off injured by the time Proctor saw red, dismissed following goal-mouth melee involving a number of players from both sides.
And United took full advantage of their extra man, breaking down the right. Appiah held the ball up brilliantly before finding Simpson, who strode forward and picked out the Crystal Palace loanee with a reverse pass. Appiah’s first time finish was low and true, finding the bottom corner of Maxwell’s net to send the R Costings Abbey Stadium crowd wild.
The visitors threw men forward in the closing stages, and Hitchcock was left holding his head after meeting Hughes’ cross but seeing Dunn produce a fine parry to foil him from six yards. United then saw out time fairly comfortably to book their place in the second round draw.
MayIClaim Man of the Match: Tom Champion
Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, G.Taylor, Coulson, Nelson, Hughes, Dunk (Bird 78), Champion, Naylor (Chadwick 54), Elliott (Simpson 65), Appiah. Subs not used: Norris, Lanzoni, Hurst, BJ Taylor.
Fleetwood Town: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Jordan, Pond, Crainey, Evans (Sarcevic 87), Schumacher, Southern (Proctor 62), Hughes, Hitchcock, Dobbie. Subs not used: Lucas, Andrew, Roberts, Forbes, Naughton.
Referee: Darren Sheldrake
Attendance: 2,870 (away 94)