Cambridge United ended their barren run of form at home with an emphatic 4-0 win over Sky Bet League Two high flyers Exeter City at the Abbey Stadium.
The U’s produced their best display of the season to dispatch the Devon side as Luke Hannant, Jack Roles, George Taft and Andy Dallas all got on the scoresheet.
The U’s made three changes as Reggie Lambe and Jack Roles moved back into the starting eleven following their return from international duty, and Harrison Dunk also started the encounter a Liam O’Neil, Marc Richards and Harry Darling dropped out.
United carved a promising opening inside the first minute with Sam Smith well placed to volley a Dunk nodded header across the six yard box towards goal, but the effort nicked a Grecian’s defender and bounced wide.
The returning Reggie Lambe went very close on 17 minutes following a neat passage of play on the edge of the Exeter area, and the Bermudan curved a beautiful shot beyond the reach of Jon Maxted but onto the roof of the Exeter City net.
Calderwood’s men continued to mix it well with their high flying opponents though and spurned another opportunity on 25 minutes. Paul Lewis fed a well-weighted pass into Dunk who zipped a cross into the path of Roles from the left, but despite the Spurs loanee making contact he didn’t connect enough to beat Maxted from six yards out.
United got their reward for a positive first half though on 38 minutes, with Luke Hannant arriving late before thumping a shot on target which deflected off an Exeter defender and looped over Maxted to break the deadlock for the U’s.
The only down side from the opening 45 minutes was the enforced departure of George Maris with a foot problem, which saw Leon Davies replace the midfielder at the break.
Elliott Ward produced a miraculous goal saving tackle five minutes after half time, in what was Exeter’s clearest opening as Lee Martin ran through on goal, only to be denied the chance to pull the trigger with a sliding challenge from the U’s centre back.
Luke Hannant couldn’t take the chance to double his and the U’s tally moments later, as the man playing centrally now, dragged his shot wide from 12 yards one on one with Maxted.
The Amber Army didn’t have to wait long though, as Jack Roles picked out the bottom corner of the Exeter goal with excellent precision on 57 minutes as he buried Sam Smith’s cut back from outside the area to score United’s second.
A delightful chip in behind from Roles just after the hour mark almost saw the midfielder turn provider, but Maxted got his right glove to Sam Smith’s volley from the angle to stop the U’s extending their advantage.
Again though United did not disappoint the home faithful as George Taft popped up at the perfect moment to clean up with a volley from eight yards, after Maxted had palmed Elliott Ward’s initial shot into his centre back partner’s path to make it three.
Andy Dallas was brought on with eight minutes to play and scored his first for the Club three minutes later, slamming in Maxted’s tap down save from Hannant’s chip at goal to add the icing on the cake for United.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Dunk, Knoyle, Taft, Ward, Hannant, Lambe, Lewis, Maris (Davies, 45 mins), Roles (Richards 75 mins), Smith (Dallas, 82 mins)
Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney (Jay, 68 mins), Atangana (Collins, 45 mins), A.Martin, L.Martin (Fisher, 64 mins), Law, Williams, Bowman, Parkes, Sparkes, Taylor
Bookings: Sweeney, Atangana
Attendance: 3,816 (384)
Jackson Fire & Security Man of the Match: George Taft