BLYTH SCORES AS U'S SECURE IMPORTANT POINT
Cambridge United secure a hard earned point with a 1-1 draw at the Abbey Stadium against table topping Leyton Orient.
Jacob Blyth had given United the lead shortly after the half time break before Jay Simpson levelled the scores for the O’s with 17 minutes left on the clock.
Manager Richard Money was forced into a late change before the match when Barry Corr picked up a thigh strain in the warm-up and was replaced in the starting line-up by Danny Carr, who became one of five changes to the side that had lined up against Luton Town a week prior.
The U’s showed good early defensive discipline, with Roberts, Legge and Coulson all keeping a tight line and catching Orient danger man Jay Simpson offside on three occasions during the opening ten minutes.
The returning Jordan Slew found space in behind the O’s defence on seven minutes to give United their first glimpse at goal, when his low cross came close to finding Robbie Simpson in the 18 yard box, only for Orient to clear their lines at the last second.
United continued to show strong defensive capabilities in the opening 20 minutes of the game, whilst the likes Robbie Simpson, Conor Newton and Mickey Demetriou were linking up well in the offensive third for the U’s.
Josh Coulson came closest of anyone to opening the scoring when the centre half glanced a header wide of the mark from a well delivered Luke Berry corner, that perhaps should have nestled into the back of the net.
The O’s were the next to register a foray of note, when Mathieu Baudry played a long ball up field to Simpson, however Chris Dunn and Josh Coulson collectively did enough to direct the striker away from goal, with the former West Ham man only able to hit the post.
United’s keeper was then forced into another great save moments later, when Essam headed a powerful effort on target which Dunn stretched well to tip wide.
Richard Money’s men responded with two quick fire efforts of their own shortly after the 30 minute mark. First Demetriou picked up possession at an acute angle and fired over Alex Cisak’s goal before the Shrewsbury loanee then turned provided for Danny Carr, whose headed effort also came close.
Dunn then weathered a late first half storm from Orient, with a flurry of chances falling the way of Moore and Essam but the United keeper was on hand to parry all efforts away from danger.
When the sides re-emerged for the second period, Richard Money had elected to introduce Liam Hughes and Jacob Blyth to proceedings, replacing Danny Carr and Jordan Slew.
The changes had an immediate as United began controlling the tempo of the game in midfield, and both substitutes were involved in the U’s opening goal. Hughes played a delightful ball between the lines for Mickey Demetriou to cross, and Leicester loanee Blyth finished comfortably at the back post to give the men in Amber and Black a 1-0 advantage on 53 minutes.
Robbie Simpson came close to doubling that lead on the hour mark, when he stabbed Demetriou’s cross into the side netting of the near post. The U’s striker again looked threatening ten minutes later and perhaps would have scored had it not been for Essam’s commitment to deny United from a dangerous cross.
However, it was the O’s who would register next when Baudry’s lofted pass found Jay Simpson in behind Josh Coulson, and the striker finished past Dunn to equalise on 72 minutes.
The goal buoyed the League leaders who pressed on for a winner during the latter stages of the match, but Richard Money’s side dug their heels in well and showed real resilience to secure an important result.
Sammy Moore forced one final save from Dunn with a long range blast in added time, that saw the U’s keeper complete a fine afternoon with an impressive save to secure the point for the U’s.
Cambridge United: Dunn, Omozusi, Roberts, Legge, Coulson, Demetriou, Berry, Simpson, Newton, Slew (Blyth, 45 mins), Carr (L.Hughes, 45 mins)
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessey, Shaw, Essam, Baudry, James (Turgott, 65 mins), McCallum (Palmer, 76 mins), Payne, Moore, Pritchard, Simpson
Vindis Man of the Match: Leon Legge