MATCH REPORT: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 1
A dramatic double penalty save in stoppage time from Will Norris ensured the U’s secured three points against Accrington Stanley in Sky Bet League Two, following a stunning winner from Piero Mingoia.
Mingoia returned as the U’s only change to register an exceptional volley against his former club nine minutes from time, before the most dramatic of endings, which included two penalty saves and United finishing the match with nine men.
Despite a skilful Accrington side enjoying a lion share of possession in the early encounters, the U’s took the lead on the 13th minute when captain Leon Legge bulldozed his way onto the end of Mingoia’s set piece delivery to the far post, burying the ball past Aaron Chapman.
The visitors responded by knocking on the U’s door for an equaliser, but a strong team defensive effort kept the Lancashire side at bay.
In fact it was the U’s who came closest to the next foray of note, when an excellent counter attacking move led by Ben Williamson saw the striker drag the ball back for Adam McGurk 15 yards from goal, but the Northern Irishmen failed to keep his first time shot on target.
John Coleman’s side grew stronger as the half progressed though, but only forced Norris into a save minutes before the break when the U’s keeper showed sharp reactions to get low to his left to push away Jordan Clark’s near post attempt.
Mark Roberts went close for the U’s after half time, when the centre back wrestled against the Accrington defence before heading Harrison Dunk’s cross over.
The visitors equalised soon after, with Billy Kee lumping the ball into the U’s net from close range after Omar Beckles had forced a save from Norris from the initial Sean McConville corner.
Shaun Derry’s men responded with their best spell of the game and were within fractions of restoring the lead when McGurk’s cross rebounded off Janoi Donacien and almost into the Accrington defender’s own net.
John Coleman’s side were a width of the post away from scoring a winner, when Romauld Boco struck the foot of the post, which triggered a frantic ten minute spell to the game that is highly unlikely to ever be replicated.
Mingoia registered a second goal for the U’s with an exceptional volley 12 yards out, following a devastating run and cross from substitute Uche Ikpeazu.
However, the drama did not stop there, with Leon Legge seeing a second yellow card for a foul on Terry Gornell which resulted in the first penalty save by Norris low to his right. That was followed two minutes later with Brad Halliday receiving a straight red card for handball on the goal line, where Norris once again stepped up to the plate to palm away Gornell’s effort from the spot and cue jubilation around the Cambs Glass Stadium.
Cambridge United: Norris, Halliday, Legge, Roberts, Taylor, Mingoia, Berry, Clark (Dunne, 66 mins), Dunk, McGurk (Newton 85 mins), Williamson (Ikpeazu, 66 mins)
Goals: Legge, Mingoia
Red cards: Legge, Halliday
Penalty saves: Norris (x2)
Accrington Stanley: Chapman, Pearson, Beckles, Vyner, Clark (Gornell, 84 mins), Brown, McConville, Boco, Lacey, Kee, Donacien (Eagles, 84 mins)
Attendance: 3,765 (98 away)