United defeated at Home Park
Two late goals consigned Cambridge United to a 2-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle.
Substitute Ryan Brunt fired home nine minutes from time to break the deadlock, converting the rebound after Chris Dunn parried Bobby Reid’s effort, before Lewis Alessandra doubled the advantage three minutes later.
Richard Money made two changes from Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw at Exeter. Dominic Ball and Tom Elliott returned to the starting eleven in place of Richard Tait and Johnny Hunt. Plymouth, on the back of two consecutive victories to start February and seventh at the start of the day, were unchanged from their impressive 2-0 win at Wycombe on Tuesday.
Bobby Reid tested Dunn within thirty seconds of kick-off, letting fly from distance and forcing United’s stopper into early action. For United Ryan Donaldson had an effort charged down after excellent work by Jordan Slew to win the ball on the byeline. After 12 minutes Sullay Kaikai could barely have come closer to breaking the deadlock, lifting a brilliant 25 yard freekick over the defensive wall and onto the woodwork, the ball rebounding from the angle of post and bar. Moments later Slew was denied by goalkeeper Luke McCormick when he found himself with a clear run through on goal. Plymouth’s Drew Talbot drove forward on the right wing and flashed an effort only just wide of the far post. Dunn was called into action soon after, reacting quickly to tip over a flying overhead effort from Argyle’s Olly Lee.
It prompted a period of pressure from the hosts with Anthony O’Connor and Lee both firing efforts which required defensive blocks, before the U’s were dealt a blow on 27 minutes when Tom Elliott was withdrawn, to be replaced by Johnny Hunt. Lee once again went close straight after, firing a fraction wide as the ball pinballed around on the edge of the box.
There followed a period when Richard Money’s side regained a foothold on the match. Six minutes before the break Slew ran the left channel expertly and then got beyond the last man, but fired off target from within the penalty area when the shooting chance arrived.
There was still time for Louis Alessandra to force Dunn into another save, which he achieved low to his right, but the first half ended goalless despite a number of chances at both end of the pitch.
The second half started in cagey fashion with chances less hard to come by. It took twenty minutes for any meaningful opportunity to arise, as Alessandra blazed over and Reuben Reid headed over from Talbot’s delivery.
Plymouth had most of the openings, while Jordan Chiedozie almost ran through for the U’s mere moments after replacing Kaikai after 69 minutes. Donaldson attempted to find his run between two defenders but the pass was just too heavy.
Alessandra conspired to block the effort of his team mate Lee after he was presented with an opportunity when well placed inside the area, but a double burst soon after made the game safe for Plymouth.
First sub Ryan Brunt slotted home from close range after Dunn parried Bobby Reid’s effort into his path with nine minutes to play. After youth product James Akintunde replaced Slew to make his first league appearance for the club Alessandra sealed the result after 84 minutes. A cross from the left went past everyone and to him beyond the back post, from where he cut inside and blasted past Dunn.
There was no time for United to look to strike back and their winless run in League Two extends to five matches.
U’s team: Dunn, Ball, Nelson, Coulson, Taylor, Donaldson, Champion, Simpson, Kaikai (Chiedozie 69), Elliott (Hunt 27), Slew (Akintunde 82).
Not used: Norris, Miller, Tait, Bird.
Plymouth team: McCormick, Nelson, McHugh, Hartley, O’Connor, Talbot, Bobby Reid, Lee (Cox 80), Holmes-Dennis (Purington 88), Alessandra, Reuben Reid (Brunt 67).
Not used: Bittner, Mellor, Newburn, Blizzard.
Attendance: 6413 (196 away)
Referee: Iain Williamson