Watkins strike defeats U’s
Cambridge United’s three game winning run at the Abbey Stadium was ended by Exeter City, who returned to Devon with a 1-0 win in Sky Bet League Two.
Ollie Watkins fired home the decisive goal in the 76th minute for Paul Tisdale’s side, with United disappointed not to have followed up on Tuesday’s victory over Wycombe Wanderers.
The visitors began the game the brighter of the two sides, with David Wheeler and Watkins both enjoying attempts on the United goal that failed to test Will Norris.
An intricate piece of play between Ryan Haynes, Ben Williamson and James Dunne on the left of the Exeter box opened up the first opportunity of the game for the U’s, with Dunne letting fire on a fizzing shot that saw Bobby Olejnik push the effort around his near post.
However, as the half wore chances in front of goal were in short supply with the U’s having to work extremely hard when in possession of the ball to move about a resolute and well drilled Exeter outfit.
A hanging cross to the far post from Lee Holmes was met cleanly by Wheeler six minutes before the break and Norris was sharp to react, directing the ball away from goal with a fingertip save.
The U’s keeper was quick into action after the break, when Wheeler broke free of Furlong before curling an effort towards the far corner which Norris stretched well to keep the game scorless.
An outstanding block from Darnell Furlong on the Cambridge goal line stopped Christian Ribeiro from a certain goal on 55 minutes, when the left back had headed on goal from an Exeter corner.
Exeter continued to enjoy the better chances in front of goal and Jayden Stockley was presented an opportunity from Ribeiro’s whipped set piece delivery soon after, but headed over the bar.
Cambridge substitute Zeli Ismail, making his United debut, thundered a right footed effort at Olejnik after showing nifty footwork to outwit Craig Woodman and make room for the shot.
However, Paul Tisdale’s side took the lead with 14 minutes left to play when Ryan Harley found Watkins in space on the right, who drove towards goal and fired home a finish into the bottom right corner from 15 yards.
Leon Legge had a late chance to level the game for the U’s, but could only direct his headed effort wide of the mark.
Cambridge United: Norris, Furlong, Legge, Coulson, Haynes, Berry, Dunne, Ledson (Donaldson, 59 mins), Dunk (Ismail, 59 mins), Williamson, Spencer (Simpson, 65 mins)
Exeter City: Olejnik, Woodman, Ribeiro, Harley, Oakley, Holmes, Moore-Taylor, Wheeler (Taylor, 81 mins), Watkins, Stockley, Brown
Attendance: 4,573 (273 away fans)
Vindis Man of the Match: Leon Legge