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21 February 2015

U's well beaten

Cambridge United suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Portsmouth as Andy Awford’s men claimed the points at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.

A hat-trick from Matt Tubbs, along with strikes from Paul Robinson, Ryan Taylor and the influential Jed Wallace meant Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s debut strike was in vain. Robbie Simpson also found the net with a second-half header, but United were well beaten.

Mendez-Laing was handed an immediate debut as Richard Money made three changes to the side beaten at Plymouth. Liam Hughes and ex-Portsmouth striker Ryan Bird were also drafted in, with Sullay Kaikai and Dominic Ball dropping to the bench, and Tom Elliott missing out due to injury.

The tone for the match was set after two minutes, when a long ball opened United up down their right, and Wallace was able to pick his way into the box, taking advantage of a fortunate ricochet off Michael Nelson to slot in a cool finish.

Portsmouth were well on top for much of the first period, and it was a break-away goal that saw United level in the 21st minute through the lively Mendez-Laing. Ryan Bird seized on a poor pass from Passley and fed Slew. His first-time pass released Mendez-Laing, who finished well from a tight angle.

Unfortunately the lead lasted just two minutes, as Wallace was allowed time and space to pick a pass through to Tubbs, who produced a characteristically composed finish, lofting the ball over Dunn.

It got worse for the U’s when a long range effort from Dunne was parried by Dunn, and Robinson lashed in the rebound. Then on the stroke of half-time a cross from the left by Butler allowed Tubbs to head in his second.

United made a go of it after the break, and a good move involving Mendez-Laing saw the ball worked out to Taylor, whose cross was headed in by Simpson.

But two more goals sent the Pompey fans happy, as Ryan Taylor took advantage of a slip by Tait to poke in, before Tubbs completed his hat-trick from Taylor’s cross.

May I Claim Man of the Match: Robbie Simpson

Cambridge United (4-4-2): Dunn, Hughes (Morrissey 74), Coulson, Nelson, Taylor, Donaldson, Champion, Simpson, Mendez-Laing, Slew (Kaikai 61), Bird (Tait 45). 
Subs not used: Miller, Hunt, Dunk, Ball.

Portsmouth (5-3-2): Jones, Passley, Devera, Robinson, Whatmough, Butler, Dunne (Atangana 85), Wallace, Hollands, Tubbs, Taylor (Chaplin 85).
Subs not used: Chorley, Barcham, Ertl, Westcarr, Poke

Referee: Sebastian Stocksbridge

Attendance: 6,528 (Away 1,433)

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