Cambridge United were edged out by Tyler Walker’s second half finish which saw the U’s fall to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of League high flyers Mansfield Town.
United lined up with one change from their win over Bury four days earlier as Jake Carroll replaced Harrison Dunk, who picked up a knock in the 0-3 victory at Gigg Lane. Although the U’s were quickly forced into another early switch when George Maris picked up an injury to the ankle inside ten minutes and was replaced by Gary Deegan.
Neither side created a clear opening during a quiet first 45 minutes in front of goal, in which both keepers remained untested going into the break.
United’s only foray forward of note came when a clever switch in play from Jake Doyle-Hayes opened space for Brad Halliday to attack the Stags’ area but the right back’s deflected shot was punched clear by Conrad Logan. Doyle-Hayes also saw a mid-range effort ricochet off a Mansfield defender which wrong-footed Logan but trickled wide of the target.
After the break crosses from Jake Carroll and David Amoo ten minutes into the second half looked to have caused Mansfield a problem but on neither occasion could the U’s direct it into the net.
However, an error from Gary Deegan on 63 minutes saw the hosts open up a lead when Jacob Mellis dispossessed the U’s midfielder inside his own half, and in turn played Tyler Walker through on goal to clinically side foot past Mitov from the angle.
The goal prompted United into a pair of attacking substitutions as Hayden Coulson and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy were introduced by Colin Calderwood with 20 minutes to play.
Calderwood’s men were unable to claw a goal back though despite a late rally, which saw Hepburn-Murphy go closest when clipped in behind by Brown only to be closed down quickly one-on-one by Logan.
Mansfield Town: Logan, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop (Mellis, 60 mins), MacDonald, Tomlinson, Walker, Jones (Rose, 60 mins), Hamilton, Turner (Sweeney, 45 mins)
Cambridge United: Mitov, Halliday, Taft, Taylor, Carroll, Amoo, Doyle-Hayes (Coulson, 73 mins), Maris (Deegan, 12 mins), Lambe, Brown, Jones (Hepburn-Murphy, 70 mins)
Attendance: 4,789 (307)