Cambridge United produced a confident display to despatch Crawley Town 3-1 at the Abbey Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.
First half goals from Jabo Ibehre and man of the match George Maris put United in the ascendency, before Jevani Brown sealed the deal after Josh Payne had pegged the U’s back from the penalty spot after half time.
The U’s lined with two changes as Jake Carroll and David Amoo took up positions in the starting eleven, with Uche Ikpeazu and Liam O’Neil dropping to the bench.
Joe Dunne’s men got off to the perfect start at a drizzly Abbey, winning a pair of early corners with Jabo Ibehre rising highest inside the Crawley area on the latter delivery to power a header into the bottom corner on four minutes.
United refused to rest on their laurels though and soon had a second when George Maris curled a peach of a free kick past Glenn Morris from 25 yards out to open clear daylight between the sides on the score line.
Maris continued to be the playmaker for United as the half went on, and delivered a number of excellent cross field deliveries into the path of David Amoo on the right wing to attack the Crawley defence.
Jevani Brown came close to extending the lead to three moments before half time, feigning on the ball to put Crawley keeper Morris on his back side before the shot stopper recovered to deny the U’s midfielder’s shot.
However United’s lead was reduced three minutes after half time, when Ibehre was found guilty of bringing down substitute Enzio Boldewjin, before Josh Payne converted from the spot.
The goal woke United up once more though and they soon went in pursuit of a third that would restore their two goal advantage. Were it not for a pair of excellent stops from Morris, a David Amoo header followed by a George Maris mid-range attempt would surely have given Joe Dunne’s men just that.
However it was Jevani Brown who did the job though, when he found himself clean through following another incisve pass by Maris, before rounding Morris and tapping in United’s third into an empty net.
Uche Ikpeazu, Billy Waters and Liam O’Neil were all introduced by Joe Dunne after the hour mark, as the U’s saw the clash out comfortably.
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Taft, Taylor, Carroll, Dunk, Deegan, Maris (O’Neil, 82 mins), Brown, Amoo (Waters, 76 mins), Ibehre (Ikpeazu, 72 mins)
Crawley Town: Morris, Young, Payne, Connolly, Smith (Boldejwin, 45 mins), Ahearne-Grant, Roberts, Yorwerth, Evina (Sanoh, 75 mins), Bulman, Randall (Camara, 72 mins)
Attendance: 4,131 (199)
Vindis Man of the Match: George Maris