Five-star performance from rampant U's
Kwesi Appiah inspired Cambridge United to fantastic 5-1 over Oxford United at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
Trailing to Danny Hylton’s early header, Appiah smashed in a brilliant equaliser to level the scores just before half time, then took advantage of some good work by Luke Chadwick to slot in a second.
After the break Appiah turned provider, sending in a low cross which Ryan Donaldson smashed in. Tom Elliott’s header made it four, before a late strike from Robbie Simpson completed the scoring.
Richard Money made one change to the starting line-up, with Luke Chadwick returning from injury and taking the place of Harrison Dunk. This meant Donaldson switched to the left-flank.
In front of the Sky TV cameras, Oxford made the perfect start, taking the lead after eight minutes. Former United left-back Tom Newey found space on the left to deliver a great cross, and Hylton got in between the U’s centre-backs to head home. Chris Dunn got a hand to the ball, but couldn’t prevent it spinning across the line.
The goal was a blot on an otherwise decent half for the U’s, and they almost equalised within two minutes, Appiah taking aim from 25 yards but seeing Ryan Clarke get fingertips to his shot, deflecting it onto the bar.
Clarke was in outstanding form for the visitors, and made a great plunging save to parry a downward header from Robbie Simpson after Richard Tait’s cross from the right.
When the U’s did equalise it was thanks to a brilliant effort from Appiah, who displayed brilliant control to bring down a looping pass from Donaldson, before smashing a powerful in at the near post before Clarke could even move.
Appiah was it again two minutes later, after Luke Chadwick set him free after winning a tackle on half-way. The on-loan Crystal Palace forward took the ball past a defender, and though Clarke saved his initial shot Appiah showed admirable presence of mind to collect the loose ball and chip it over the keeper and a defender on the line.
Oxford struggled to cope with the power of Elliott and Appiah throughout the match, and a flick from the former put the latter in, but he was unable to flick the ball past a defender in the box and the chance was gone.
Donaldson made no mistake in the 54th minute though, finishing brilliantly from Appiah’s low cross, and when Elliott headed home unmarked from Taylor’s cross, the game was up.
It was left to Clarke to keep the score down, saving from substitute Harrison Dunk and tipping a looping Donaldson cross-cum-shot over the bar. However, he was beaten in the final minute, Simpson side-footing home from Donaldson’s left wing corner to delight of the Newmarket Road end.
May I Claim Man of the Match: Kwesi Appiah.
Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, Taylor (Lennon 81), Coulson, Nelson, Chadwick (Dunk 59), Donaldson, Hughes, Simpson, Appiah, Elliott (Bird 79). Subs not used: Norris, Lanzoni, Hurst, Taylor.
Oxford United: Clarke, Newey, O’Dowda, Raynes, Mullins, Rose, Collins (Roberts 84), Howard (Whing 54), Riley, Brown (Jakubiak 67), Hylton. Subs not used: Long, Morris, Ruffels, Long, Roberts.
Referee: Mr A D’Urso