Cambridge United completed a productive pre-season tour in Scotland with a 2-3 victory against Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle Park.
Paul Lewis registered in the first half for the U’s, before Liam O’Neil and a trialist added to the scoreline after the break as United’s preparations for the 2019/20 season continue to progress well.
The U’s struck the woodwork inside a minute via a quickly worked short corner routine that picked out Greg Taylor in space for a volley eight yards out, but the United skipper’s effort crashed against the foot of the post and bounced into hands of the Hearts keeper.
Callum Burton had to watch a dipping strike from mid-range very carefully, which clipped the top of the U’s keeper’s net on 12 minutes.
However it was United who looked the more threatening through the middle of the first half. Harrison Dunk showed tremendous commitment to throw his head at a dangerous cross in from the right but directed his header over the top before being flattered by the Hearts keeper.
Paul Lewis made no mistake on 18 minutes with his chance though, as the midfielder met Liam O’Neil’s cut back decisively by wrapping in a low shot with his first touch to open the scores.
United were able to make contact on a superb delivery through the Hearts 18 yard box by Reggie Lambe minutes later, which zipped tantalisingly past United’s attackers. Likewise Kyle Knoyle wasn’t able to take advantage when being found in behind the Jamtarts defence with a searching clipped pass over the top by O’Neil.
The U’s back four made a series of important interceptions as the end of the first half approached inside their area to protect the one goal advantage, and a shot from the Hearts right back which nestled into the side netting looked to be covered by a Burton at his near post regardless.
However, when United gifted possession away in the centre of the park four minutes before the break Hearts levelled with a ruthless strike past Burton into the keeper’s top left corner to make it one a piece.
Jabo Ibehre was introduced after half time and was immediately at the heart of neat free flowing move from the U’s which almost led to a second goal for the U’s but Harrison Dunk’s cross fizzed through the Hearts six yard box.
Reggie Lambe couldn’t keep his shot down as a loose bounced the way of the Bermudan in the edge of the Hearts area from a United set piece, and he fired over the bar seven minutes into the second half.
Greg Taylor forced a point blank save from the Hearts keeper with a header at the far post from a deep delivery by Dan Jones.
United’s increase in pressure told though as Jabo Ibehre forceed a good save from the Hearts keeper one on one but Liam O’Neil tucked away the rebound into an empty net following good play by Lambe in the build up, as United restored their lead.
Two quickly became three just before the hour mark as a striker on trial for the U’s calmly finished to give United daylight on the scoreboard.
Colin Calderwood introduced a host of players soon after to ensure the majority of the squad continued to gain valuable match minutes. One of the new arrival Harry Darling was denied the opportunity to add the U’s fourth goal when the defender’s clean strike on the volley was palmed away by the Hearts keeper.
The hosts struck back with ten minutes to play as they fired a low cross in froom the right hand side which was hammered in at the far post to give Burton no chance. However, the U's managed the remainder of the fixture with a great temperament to complete their Scotland tour with a win.
Cambridge United Starting XI | Burton, Knoyle (Davies, 60 min), Taylor (John, 60 mins), Trialist (Darling, 60 mins), Jones (Worman, 75 mins), Lambe (Knowle, 60 mins), Lewis (Hannant, 60 mins), O’Neil (Trialist, 60 mins), Dunk (Norville-Williams, 60 mins), Trialist (Ibehre, 45 mins), Trialist (Neal, 75 mins)