MATCH REPORT: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1A last gasp extra time winner from Luke Berry and a stunning strike from Piero Mingoia saw Cambridge United come from behind to beat Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday 2—1 in the EFL Cup First Round at the Cambs Glass Stadium.
Shaun Derry’s men looked to be bowing out of the competition as they entered additional time of the 90 minutes after Lucas Joao had given the Owls the advantage. However, Mingoia’s 30 yard effort swung momentum firmly back in United’s favour as they went on to clinch victory through captain Berry.
The U’s certainly showed they were up for the challenge in the early stages and looked to have opened the scoring on nine minutes, when Tom Dallison headed in a whipping Mingoia cross, only for the linesman to lift his flag for offside.
However, the U’s continued to mix it with the Championship side as the half progressed. Joe Pigott perhaps had the best opportunity to break the deadlock, when the former Charlton man pounced on a clever head down from Williamson before prodding a shot straight at Joe Wildsmith in the Sheffield Wednesday goal.
Despite the away side enjoying the majority of possession during the opening 45 minutes, their only chance of note came four minutes before the break when Lucas Joao worked his way into space on the left of the U’s 18 yard box before slamming a shot into the side netting.
However, the Owls did put United under early pressure in the second period and soon after substitute Gary Hooper had struck the foot of the post, Joao cut in from the right side of the pitch before firing through the U’s defence and into the net.
They were close to doubling the lead soon minutes later, when a well-weighted pass from Hooper flew off the boot of the lumbering Atdhe Nuhiu but clipped the top of the bar from a position where it seemed almost impossible to miss.
With Shaun Derry looking to shuffle his side around and find a way back in to the tie, he made a double substitution shortly before the hour mark, with Conor Newton and George Maris introduced to proceedings in place of Elito and Dunne.
Instantly, Maris worked himself into the thick of the action and let fire on a fizzing 30 yard strike which Wildsmith could only parry, as United pushed for a leveller. Shaun Derry’s men continued to plug away and as the clock moved towards the final ten minutes both Williamson and Berry tested the Owls’ shot stopper.
And just as the game seemed to have passed the U’s, Piero Mingoia marched off his right wing before letting rip on a venomous 30 yard strike that crashed off the woodwork and into the Owls net to equalise, taking the game to extra time.
There were only late chances for second half substitutes Maris and Newton to report from the first period of extra time as the game closed up and looked certain for a penalty shoot-out.
But the U’s most certainly dominated proceedings in the final 15 minutes of the encounter, with Tom Dallison, Maris and Mingoia all going close to clinching the win as the Cambs Glass Stadium rocked to rafters.
As it was, skipper Luke Berry stepped up to the plate with just two minute s remaining, skilfully plucking a ball out of the air with his left boot, before he cleverly turned the Sheffield Wednesday defence and side footed the ball back across goal and into the bottom corner.
The goal sparked jubilant celebrations to complete a memorable night at the Cambs Glass Stadium, with United now eagerly awaiting the second round draw.
Cambridge United: Gregory, Long, Coulson, Dallison, Adams (Taylor, 100 mins), Mingoia, Dunne (Newton, 58 mins), Berry, Elito (Maris, 58 mins), Pigott, Williamson
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Sougou (Hooper, 45 mins), Palmer, Helan, Joao (Hirst, 90 mins), Semedo. O’Grady, Wallace (Murphy, 85 mins), Buckley, Vermijl, Nuhiu
Attendance: 4,270 (1,405)
Vindis Man of the Match: Piero Mingoia