U’s out of Emirates FA Cup despite spirited performance
Cambridge United bow out of the 2015/16 Emirates FA Cup in the Second Round, as Doncaster Rovers score three second half goals in 12 minutes to fight back at the Abbey Stadium.
The U’s had produced an outstanding first half display in which Luke Berry headed home to give United a deserved half time lead. However, their League One opponents showed their class soon after the break to turn round the score line through goals from Connor Grant and Michael Lund.
With Ben Williamson and Cameron Gayle both cup tied, Greg Taylor and Barry Corr returned to the starting line-up for the U’s amongst four changes by Manager Shaun Derry. Ryan Donaldson completed his recovery from a foot injury whilst Mickey Demetriou also started.
Both sides enjoyed early sights on goal, Doncaster’s Andy Williams was played cleanly down the left channel and struck a shot into the arms of Sam Beasant inside five minutes. Whilst a flicked header on from Barry Corr after Donaldson had delivered from the right, found Luke Berry at the back post moments later, but the midfielder could only guide his side footed shot into the side netting.
Berry again came close on 13 minutes, when Conor Newton found him on an overlapping run and would have opened the scoring had Rovers’ keeper Thorsten Stuckmann not reached down low to his left to parry away for a corner.
United’s and indeed Berry’s early form continued to threaten the visitors from South Yorkshire, and the pressure told on 21 minutes from the penalty spot. Berry, brought down by Doncaster’s Aaron Taylor-Sinclair to win the penalty, was on hand to head home a rebound when Stuckmann had initially saved Corr’s strike from 12 yards.
The goal gave United additional confidence and they continued to string longs spells of positive possession together, as Berry and Ledson pulled the strings and Newton acting as a real menace to Doncaster breaking up their play at every opportunity with a dogged first half display.
However, with former Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson’s half time words still ringing in their ears, Rovers equalised with less than a minute on the clock in the second half. Connor Grant lacing a shot from the right side of the 18 yard box which slipped under Sam Beasant and into the left corner of the goal.
Newton and Demetriou came close to a quick riposte for United, when the pair both took shots from long range that failed to find the net. Corr threatened moments later when he rose highest to head Donaldson’s corner towards goal, which was hacked away by some frantic Doncaster defence.
However, the visitors delivered a double blow in the 56th and 57th minute to grasp the lead in the highly entertaining tie. First, Michael Lund poked home Cameron Stewart’s bending cross to the far post, before Connor Grant scored his second in some style, whipping a fine left footed shot into the top right corner from distance to extend Rover’s advantage.
Despite being slightly shell shocked by the huge shift in the game, United refused to back down and fought hard to find a way back into the match. Newton came close when his smart turn in midfield opened up space for a shot, which the former Rotherham man fizzed inches wide of the target.
Shaun Derry brought on Liam Hughes with 12 minutes to play and the midfielder had an instant impact, twice hitting the cross bar from a free kick delivered by Mickey Demetriou on the left. With seven minutes to play Hughes again came close to clawing a goal back for the U’s when the ball popped up neatly on the edge of the area, which he fired a sweet dipping volley into the Newmarket Road End.
A late surge was not enough for United and Doncaster progressed into Monday’s third round draw.
Cambridge United: Beasant, Taylor, Legge, Roberts, Demetriou, Berry, Newton, Ledson (L.Hughes, 78 mins), Dunk, Donaldson (Simpson, 69 mins), Corr
Doncaster Rovers: Stuckmann, Lund, Evina, Butler, Williams, Tyson (Stewart, 45 mins), Taylor-Sinclair, Grant, Coppinger (Keegan, 67 mins), Middleton, Alcock
Goals: Grant 2, Lund
Attendance: 3,951 (672 away)