Cambridge United got their Sky Bet League Two season up and running with a 0-1 away win over Crawley Town at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
Jabo Ibehre’s brief 12 minute appearance in the second half, remarkably saw the striker score the winning goal before leaving the field through injury.
Head Coach Shaun Derry made one change to side that were narrowly beaten by Carlisle United a week earlier, with Piero Mingoia replacing Ibehre who had picked up a rib problem during training.
The opening 45 minutes was a tight affair with both sides creating enough chances on goal to warrant a lead at the break.
Mark Randall struck the U’s cross bar on six minutes, when the midfielder interlinked with Enzio Boldewijn before curling an effort goalwards, in what was the best opportunity for Harry Kewell’s men.
United responded through Uche Ikpeazu, Medy Elito sliding the big striker through but the 22-Year old failed to get the ball out of his feet before seeing his shot saved by the feet of Glenn Morris.
Much like the season before, Ikpeazu continued to be a handful that caused the Crawley defence issues, and he came closest to breaking the deadlock on 28 minutes with a snap shot on his left foot, forcing Morris into a smart reaction save.
Shaun Derry introduced Jabo Ibehre to play alongside Uche Ikpeazu in a forward two ten minutes after half time, and it paid off almost instantly.
Ikpeazu worked a yard of space to fire a powerful left footed drive at goal, which keeper Morris could only palm into the path of Ibehre six yards from goal, where the striker guided in his first competitive goal for the U’s.
It proved to be the former Carlisle man’s first and last contribution to the fixture, forced to leave the field just 12 minutes after being substituted on.
Shaun Derry’s men showed good resolve in the closing 30 minutes of the encounter, with David Forde producing a string of exceptional saves to deny the hosts, who came closest when former Cambridge United loanee Matt Harrold struck the post with two minutes remaining.
Crawley Town: Morris, Young, Connolly (Yorwerth, 30 mins), Lelan, Evina, Bulman, Randall (Clifford, 71 mins), Camara (Harrold, 64 mins), Boldewijn, Verheydt, Roberts
Cambridge United: Forde, Davies, Legge, Taylor, Carroll, Mingoia (Lewis, 90 mins), O’Neil (Ibehre, 56 mins) (Ibehre off, Azeez on 68 mins), Deegan, Berry, Elito, Ikpeazu
Attendance: 2,059 (388 away)