MATCH REPORT | PORTSMOUTH 2 CAMBRIDGE UTD 1
Cambridge United fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Portsmouth, despite a late comeback from the U’s and another Luke Berry free kick.
An unchanged U’s side from the team that beat Exeter City on Easter Monday began the game having to be patient without the ball, as newly promoted Portsmouth moved the ball around enjoying the carnival atmosphere at Fratton Park.
The early dominance in possession paid dividends on 20 minutes when Carl Baker was on hand to side foot a cross from Nicke Kabamba past Will Norris ten yards out to open the scores.
United gradually grew into the half though and had two chances to level in quick succession when Uche Ikpeazu saw a shot blocked off the line on 33 minutes, before Liam O’Neil glanced a header narrowly wide from the resulting corner.
However, Paul Cooke’s side held on to their lead up to half time and could in fact have doubled it were it not for Kabamba directing a header the wrong side of the far post in stoppage time.
The hosts didn’t have to wait long after the break though, Kal Naismith wrapping in a Luke Berry esque free kick from 25 yards out to give Shaun Derry’s men an uphill challenge for the remainder of the contest.
Adam McGurk replaced Ikpeazu after the hour mark with the latter looking to have picked up a shoulder injury. The former Portsmouth man had a golden opportunity to pull a goal back on 70 minutes but instead saw his header from six yards blocked by Matt Clarke.
However, right on cue Luke Berry produced another of his trademark free kicks, picking out the top right corner from 25 yards to give United a life line in the match.
Pushing for the equaliser Leon Legge moved forward for United as they went to three at the back, The centre back almost headed in the all-important goal from Mingoia’s cross on 87 minutes, only to see the chance bounced wide.
In the dying embers Luke Berry came close with another free kick but Forde was on hand this time to palm away the curling shot and with it United’s hopes of a comeback.
Portsmouth: Forde, Stevens, Clarke, Baker (Lowe, 66 mins), Doyle, Kabamba (Chaplin, 62 mins), Whatmough, Naismith, Bennett (Roberts, 71 mins), Evans, Aborah
Cambridge United: Norris, Halliday, Legge, Taylor, Carroll, Mingoia, O’Neil (Dunk, 55 mins), Newton (Dunne, 60 mins), Elito, Berry. Ikpeazu (McGurk, 62 mins)