Harvey Knibbs and Andrew Dallas both notched for the U’s, who drew 2-2 with MK Dons in their first pre-season fixture at Stadium MK.
Knibbs tucked away on the end of a clever free kick early in the first half, before a brace by Tali Jallow had dragged the Dons ahead only for Andrew Dallas to level in the closing stages of a competitive contest.
United opened an early opportunity when Knibbs pounced on a poor touch from the home defence. The striker rolled a pass into Wes Hoolahan who returned the ball to Knibbs inside the 18 yard box, but his left footed shot missed the target.
Indeed it was Knibbs though who would give United the lead, with a clean turn and neat finish around the Dons keeper Lee Nicholls six yards out on the end of a quick Hoolahan free kick 11 minutes into the match.
Dimitar Mitov’s first piece of action was required shortly after, as the Bulgarian produced a smart save at a comfortable height from a curling Rhys Healey free kick 25 yards from goal. The U’s keeper was then able to watch a powerful drive goalwards by Ben Gladwin dip over the top of his cross bar minutes later.
Harry Darling produced a goal line clearance after an in-swinging set piece had caused the U’s a problem midway through the half, and the centre back was required to hook away Carlton Morris’ back post header.
Mitov delivered two first class saves to keep the U’s lead intact, first denying Healey with a low reaction save to his right on the half an hour mark, before an outstanding acrobatic stop high to his left eight minutes later to push Gladwin’s snapshot wide of the mark.
Mark Bonner will have been pleased with the work rate and defensive shape displayed up to the break, as the U’s League One opponents dictated possession but were unable to register a goal.
Both sides made full changes after half time, and it was the U’s who were quickly on to the front foot. Ironside played a ball into the feet of strike partner Andy Dallas inside the Dons area, and the Scot held the ball long enough to release Tom Knowles for a shot from an acute angle which smashed the side netting.
However, the hosts levelled just after the hour when a Paul Digby clearance fell nicely for Tali Jallow to hit on the half volley from 25 yards out which looped over Callum Burton and underneath the cross bar.
Lewis Simper tried his luck from mid-range shortly after but the effort was always rising over, whilst fellow youngster Jake Battersby did find the target with his swivelled shot on 65 minutes but Dons keeper Laurie Walker was equal to the attempt.
Battersby then linked up with Tom Knowles, zipping a cross into the winger’s path who had got across his man at the near post, but again the effort didn’t have enough on it to beat Walker.
However, just as the U’s were threatening offensively for the first sustained period in the half, the hosts and Jallow struck another. This time the Dons scholar held off Digby to volley in a cross by Sam Nombe convincingly past Burton from ten yards on 68 minutes.
United went at the hosts once more, Dallas forcing a save from Walker at the near post with a thunderous drive which the keeper palmed wide.
However, when Joe Ironside picked out Dallas with a cutback cross on 82 minutes, despite Walker initially denying the striker with his first stab at goal, the U’s number nine cleaned up on the rebound smashing home from six yards.
Dallas had the best chance for either side to win the game in the closing minutes, but couldn’t make clean enough contact with his head to force in a Harrison Dunk cross to the back post, as it finished all square.
CUFC First Half Line-Up: Mitov, Bennett, Darling, Taylor, Davie, Hoolahan, Worman, Hannant, Neal, Mullin, Knibbs
CUFC Second Half Line-Up: Burton, Dunk, Dickens, Battersby, Knoyle, Knowles, O’Neil, Digby, Simper, Ironside, Dallas
MK Dons First Half Line-Up: Nicholls, Sorinola, Lewington, Houghton, Poole, Cargill, Gladwin, Kasumu, Morris, Healey, Harvie
MK Dons Second Half Line-Up: Walker, Rowley, Trialist, Trialist, Davies, Black, Nombe, Freeman, Trialist, Bailey, Jallow