Dubious sending off changes clash for United
A dubious second half sending off for Harrison Dunk saw ten man Cambridge United fall to a 3-1 defeat against Luton Town at the Abbey Stadium.
Leon Legge deservedly equalised for the U’s during the first half after Luke Gutteridge had given the away side a lead, and United looked set for a postive result until the pivotal point in the match on 64 minutes when Dunk was contentiously adjudged to have handled the ball and received a second yellow card from referee Graham Salisbury.
From there Luton registered two further goals through Luke Wilkinson and Danny Green to put the result beyond the U’s.
United were bolstered before the game by the return of striker Barry Corr to the starting line-up, who was amongst eight changes to the side that had played against Dagenham & Redbridge earlier in the week.
An early chance fell the way of the U’s Irish marksmen, with Mickey Demetriou delivering a deep cross into the box for Corr to attack with his header dropping inches wide of Mark Tyler’s near post.
Both sides toyed with possession during the opening 15 minutes as they tested each other out, with Dunk and Demetriou standing out both offensively and defensively for the U’s.
Robbie Simpson came within fractions of opening an advantage for the home side with 20 minutes played, when Dunk whipped in an outstanding cross from the left side, which was headed slightly too high of the target from the former Oldham man.
As it was, the away side scored the first goal of the fixture moments later when Luke Gutteridge spotted Chris Dunn off his line and lobbing him from 25 yards.
Richard Money’s responded immediately, with Corr first coming extremely close to levelling soon after having won a header from Dunk’s left sided delivery, before Legge did indeed register an equaliser on 27 minutes following a brilliant arching cross from Demetriou.
The goal gave Cambridge additional confidence and further chances fell the way of Roberts, Corr and Simpson. United continued to move the ball around well during the closing stages of the half, and despite only being level on the scoreboard Richard Money will certainly have gone down the tunnel at half time the happier of the two managers.
The U’s momentum continued into the second period with early chances falling to both Leon Legge and Liam Hughes inside the Luton 18 yard box, but neither could trouble the Hatters’ keeper.
As expected though Luton battled hard and made life very difficult for Richard Money’s men. Simpson broke well for United on 57 minutes and played Donaldson down the right channel, whose shot seemed destined for the bottom corner before being blocked by Scott Griffiths.
The U’s were delivered a major hammer blow in the game with 25 minutes to play, when Harrison Dunk was controversially shown a yellow card for hand ball by referee Graham Salisbury, and having been booked in the first half for a foul on Ollie Lee was sent off. From the resulting free kick, Luke Wilkinson headed past Chris Dunn to give Luton the lead for the second time in the fixture.
Robbie Simpson dropped back into midfield to cover for the now absent Dunk and fought valiantly to win every ball for United and give them a chance of equalising for a second occasion.
Chris Dunn kept the U’s within touching distance in the game, when he produced a spectacular diving save to his right when Ollie Lee struck a powerful shot from 30 yards out.
However, the home side benefited from the extra man and scored a decisive goal on 84 minutes as Craig Mackail-Smith linked up with Danny Green who side footed into the net to complete a 3-1 scoreline.
Disappointing for United who up to the red card for Dunk looked on good form to take all three points.
Cambridge United: Dunn, Taylor, Roberts, Legge, Demetriou, Donaldson (88 mins, Omozusi), Berry, L.Hughes (Newton, 85 mins), Dunk, Simpson (Blyth, 85 mins), Corr
Luton Town: Tyler, O’Donnell, Smith, Cuthbert, Green, Griffiths, Lee, Gutteridge, Mackail-Smith, McQuoid, Wilkinson
Vindis Man of the Match: Mickey Demetriou