U’s bow out of JPT despite improved second half display
Despite a livelier second half performance, a 2-0 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge brought an end to Cambridge United’s 2015/16 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy campaign.
The U’s were much the better side after the half time break with Danny Carr and Jocob Blyth coming close to pegging back the score, but first half goals from Hemmings and Ferdinand were enough to see the Daggers through to the next round.
In spite of seven changes to the line-up that had started the game against Barnet in the League four days earlier, Richard Money fielded a strong side for the first round encounter, with Mickey Demetriou making a Vindis Man of the Match winning debut having completed a six month loan deal hours earlier.
Despite positive early possession of the ball for United, the Daggers crafted out the first opportunity of the game when the tricky Ashley Hemmings delivered a cross into the six yard box, which was met by Christian Doidge and forced a good reaction save from the returning Sam Beasant.
The U’s did begin to work themselves into the game during the early stages, with Jacob Blyth and Gearoid Morrissey looking particularly bright for the home side. Twice Conor Newton shot from range but was unable to find the target before the 15 minute mark.
Perhaps slightly against the run of play, Dagenham opened the scoring on 21 minutes when a mis-kick from Sam Beasant gave Wayne Burnett’s side possession of the ball high up field. Hemmings collected the ball on the edge of the area moments later and drove home convincingly in the top right corner to register for the visitors.
United looked to bounce back quickly when Luke Berry’s curling cross from a free kick found Mark Roberts but the U’s skipper was unable to steer his effort goal wards.
The visitors doubled their lead moments after, with a real slice of misfortune dealt the way of the U’s. Kane Ferdinand’s strike on the right side of the goal looked to be drifting well wide, but a huge deflection off a body in the middle of the box, wrong footed Beasant and skipped into the net.
Jeff Hughes saved the U’s from going three behind with a spectacular clearance off the line from Clevid Dikamona’s header on 34 minutes. The Northern Irishman then had a chance at the other end of the field, when he volleyed cleanly from a corner but the effort was blocked by the visitors.
When the sides re-emerged for the second half Beasant produced a fine save one-one-one with Hemmings to keep the U’s hopes alive in the game.
United then enjoyed two chances of their own, firstly Slew dragged a shot fractions wide of O’Brien’s far post before he then turned provider for Blyth, with the Leicester loanee firing a powerful shot into the palms of the Dagenham keeper.
As the half moved past the hour mark, United were seeing far more of the ball than they had in the first 45 minutes and playing with a greater intensity both with and without possession. Robbie Simpson’s introduction certainly added energy to the U’s tempo.
Danny Carr and Jacob Blyth found space in central positions of the pitch before letting loose on efforts that both teased O’Brien’s goal without scoring. Simpson then had a strong penalty waved away by referee Darren Drysdale, after the former Oldham Athletic man seemed to pushed to the ground by Dikamona.
Sam Beasant made another fantastic save with five minutes to play, when Zavon Hines went clean through on goal but the United keeper showed fast reactions to flick out a foot and divert the shot wide. However, it made little difference to the result and the Daggers saw out the remainder of the game unscathed to complete a 2-0 win.
Cambridge United: Beasant, Roberts (Carr, 45 mins), Demetriou, Coulson, Taft, Berry, Morrissey (L.Hughes, 64 mins), Newton, Blyth, J.Hughes (Simpson, 45 mins), Slew
Dagenham & Redbridge: O’Brien, Passley, Connors, Dikamona, McClure (Hines, 73 mins), Chambers, Doidge, Richards, Ferdinand, Hemmings, Obyiele
Vindis Man of the Match: Mickey Demetriou