Ten man U's fall to defeat
Ten man Cambridge United fall to a 1-3 defeat at the hands of high flying Portsmouth, with the visitors turning the scoreline around during the second half.
The U’s had produced an outstanding first half display with Robbie Simpson giving Cambridge the lead inside five minutes, before Mark Roberts was shown a straight red for his part in a scuffle at half time and the away side flipped the game on its head with three second half goals.
The U’s began the game with three changes to the side that started at York City seven days earlier, with Elliot Omozusi, Luke Berry and Robbie Simpson taking up places in the side.
Richard Money’s side shot out of the blocks with the latter giving the home side the lead on five minutes, when Luke Berry cleverly slid in a defence splitting pass for the striker to score his second of the season.
The U’s continued to pile the pressure on Portsmouth right up to the 20 minute mark in the fixture, with Berry, Dunk and Donaldson giving the U’s a real attacking threat through midfield, whilst Robbie Simpson continued to play on the shoulder of the final defender.
Eventually Portsmouth grabbed a foothold in the game and came close when a fizzed Ben Davies cross bounced off Omozusi and inches wide of Sam Beasant’s right post. But despite consecutive corners midway through the first period for the away side, the U’s more than held their own to maintain their lead.
The game balanced out with both teams looking for the all-important second goal in the fixture. Portsmouth continued to win plenty of corners in search of an equaliser but United held firm on each occasion, whilst also came close to doubling the lead when Leon Legge headed Demetriou’s delivery back across goal only for the visitors to clear at the vital moment.
On 42 minutes, Sam Beasant held his nerve in a one on one with Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans to save brilliantly low to his right side and ensure the U’s went down the tunnel at half time with the advantage.
Controversially however Cambridge United captain Mark Roberts did not return for the second period having been sent off by referee Sebastien Stockbridge for his involvement in a scuffle before the break that also saw assistant Leam Richardson sent to the stands.
Despite the blow, it was United who had the first shot on goal, when Donaldson marauded up field before firing his shot on target five minutes into the second half, that McCarey was able to save comfortably. Portsmouth followed that up with a chance of their own, Bennett flashing a header wide of the mark from a good position.
Portsmouth dealt a double blow to the U’s s shortly before the 70 minute mark, when the ball first ricocheted off Leon Legge from Gareth Evans cross and past Sam Beasant to equalise, before Matt Tubbs pulled free from his marker minutes later to give Pompey the lead from eight yards out.
United pursued every ball with real intent during the closing stages in an effort to peg the score back to level, but Portsmouth took advantage of the extra man and make possession of the ball difficult for Richard Money’s side.
Portsmouth completed a 3-1 score line, when the ball fortunately bounced off the back of Naismith’s back, onto the cross and into the path of Tubbs to head into an empty net. Gareth Evans was also shown a straight red card for poor challenge on Elliot Omozusi, but there was little time for United to take advantage.
Cambridge United: Beasant, Omozusi, Legge, Roberts (Red card, 45 mins), Demetriou, Donaldson (Newton, 75 mins), J.Hughes, Berry, Dunk (Morrissey, 83 mins), Simpson (Taft,45 mins), Corr
Portsmouth: McCarey, Davies, Stevens, Burgess, Doyle, Tubbs, Roberts, Barton (Atangana, 89 mins), Clarke (Webster, 65 mins), Bennett (Naismith, 76 mins), Evans
Attendance: 6,607 (1,866 away)