Second half comeback secures first U’s away win
Cambridge United produced a fine second half comeback against AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, to secure their first away win of the 2015/16 Sky Bet League Two season.
Two quick fire goals from Leon Legge and Barry Corr after the half time break turned the fixture in United’s favour, following a frustrating first half in which former Cambridge striker Tom Elliot had given the home side the lead.
The U’s lined up with no less than six changes to the side that started at Brunton Park against Carlisle four days earlier. Dunn, Taylor, Legge, Simpson, Slew and Liam Hughes were the players that came into the starting line-up.
It was Richard Money’s men who had the first glimpse at goal in under a minute with Simpson driving wide of James Shea’s goal from a central position.
The Dons responded quickly and when George Taft was adjudged to have taken down his opposite number unfairly, the home side played the resulting free kick quickly. It turned out to be a little too quickly, as former U’s marksmen Tom Elliot flicked a header into the top left of Chris Dunn’s net, but from an offside position and the referee duly ruled out the goal.
Wimbledon continued to apply early pressure with Barcham forcing Dunn into a fine diving save on 10 minutes, before a shot from Rigg deflected into the path of Elliot who was left one-on-one with only the U’s keeper to beat and opened the scoring.
The U’s looked to respond quickly and when Jordan Slew was played in neatly by Ryan Donaldson, United had an extremely strong penalty claim waved away by the referee when the striker looked to have been brought down by Robinson.
A frustrating opening to the game continued through the midway point of the half, with the U’s struggling to craft out chances on goal, whilst Wimbledon looked threatening through both the physical presence of Akinfenwa and Elliot up front and the pace of Barcham and Rigg on the left wing.
With half an hour played U’s boss Richard Money opted to make an early change to see if his side could alter the momentum of the match. Harrison Dunk replaced Josh Coulson, with United reverting to an additional midfielder much like they had during the pre-season fixtures and League games previous.
Despite the change it was still the home side who looked the stronger of the two, with Sean Rigg firing over from a promising position on 41 minutes. The score remained 1-0 as the sides disappeared back down the tunnel for half time, with the U’s in need of a much improved display in the second period following a scrappy first 45 minutes.
Richard Money could hardly have asked for a better reaction from his players at the start of the second half, with Leon Legge on hand to head home Ryan Donaldson’s corner powerfully past James Shea to level the scores in under 30 seconds of the restart.
Better still, the 600 strong Amber Army hardly had barely time to stop celebrating before Robbie Simpson won another corner for the U’s a minute later, and Barry Corr had placed Donaldson’s delivery cleverly into the Wimbledon net with the outside of his right foot to give United the lead on 47 minutes.
With the score board turned on its head, the U’s began playing with a far greater amount of purpose and confidence than what they had previously in the first half. Luke Berry’s introduction to proceedings at half time ensured the U’s retained possession to control the midfield, whilst the team as a whole were keeping their shape much better defensively.
Harrison Dunk and Barry Corr both came close with efforts on the edge of the Wimbledon 18 yard box before the hour mark, as the U’s went in search of a goal that would more than likely settle the result.
Captain Mark Roberts came close to clinching the decisive goal, when he guided a header on target forcing Shea into a reaction save. That was closely followed a by a warning from the home side, as Karleigh Osbourne rose highest six yards out but headed wide.
An outstanding save from Chris Dunn, who somehow kept out substitute Adebayo Azeez’s effort from close range, preserved the U’s one goal advantage as the game moved into the final ten minutes.
As the clocked ticked into the final stages the U’s showed fantastic desire and determination to protect their lead and secure the first three points on the road of the season.
Cambridge United: Dunn, Legge, Coulson (Dunk, 30 mins), Roberts, Taft, Taylor, L.Hughes, Donaldson, Slew (Berry, 45 mins), Corr, Simpson (Keane, 83 mins)
AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Robinson, Osbourne, Kennedy (Azeez, 71 mins), Bulman, Reeves, Barcham, Elliot (Taylor, 71 mins), Akinfenwa, Rigg (Francomb ,71 mins)
Attendance: 4,114 (640 away)