Cambridge United produced a gutsy late comeback with Andy Dallas and Harvey Knibbs scoring twice in the final five minutes to end their run of defeats in Sky Bet League Two with a 2-1 win over Colchester United.
Despite a display full of energy from the start, United had found themselves behind when Luke Norris nodded the Essex side into the lead midway through the second half. But the U’s picked themselves off the canvas to flip the scoreline and lift the lid off the Abbey.
Interim Head Coach Mark Bonner elected to make three changes, including at goalkeeper with Callum Burton starting in the sticks, whilst Leon Davies and Harrison Dunk were the U’s other pair of changes outfield.
Up against a Colchester side who were unbeaten in League Two since mid-October, United knew they faced a battle at the Abbey but showed a good level of fighting spirit throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Victor Adeboyejo seventh minute shot was an early tester for Dean Gerken in the visitor’s goal, and the keeper just about kept hold of the effort with Idris El-Mizouni lurking for any rebound.
The U’s did well to keep Colchester at bay, with only a knock down header by Luke Norris that Callum Burton snaffled up before Frank Nouble could reach it on 18 minutes, a clear sign of danger for the hosts. Burton’s only other action before the break was to catch a low drill at goal by Kwame Poku.
Adeboyejo made the most of a slip by Cohen Bramall shortly before half time, attacking the Colchester box down the right hand side and crossing to El-Mizouni. It was a tough one for the Tunisian to convert though and he directed off target on the half volley.
The contest continued in similar fashion when the sides returned for the second half, although the visitors were beginning to grow offensively.
Greg Taylor got too much underneath a volley when an Idris El-Mizouni corner dropped from a height to the centre back, who blazed his left foot attempt high and wide.
Goalmouth action was at a premium at both ends of the field, and as a result the first goal was becoming increasingly more important.
Unfortunately for those in black and amber it fell the way of the visitors on 69 minutes, when Leon Davies made first contact to defend a Colchester corner but Luke Norris battled hardest to win the aerial challenge inside the 18 yard box and head beyond Burton.
Bonner quickly introduced Harvey Knibbs, and the U’s displayed a hunger to go chase down the game, which was given an additional boost with the arrival of Andy Dallas nine minutes from time.
The Scot hauled United level four minutes later, making a clean run off his marker in order to hit George Maris’ through ball first time on his left foot which injected confidence right back into the home side.
And Bonner’s boys took full advantage and completed the turnaround on 88 minutes, when an outstanding delivery by Leon Davies was headed back across goal with pure composure by Knibbs, erupting the Abbey as the U’s grabbed their first win of 2020.
Cambridge United: Burton, Knoyle (Dallas, 81 mins), Taylor, Darling, Dunk, Davies, O’Neil, Lewis, Maris, El-Mizouni (Knibbs, 68 mins), Adeboyejo (Taft, 90 mins)
Colchester United: Gerken, Jackson, Bramall, Prosser, Senior (Gambin, 65 mins), Pell, Norris (Robinson, Robinson, 81 mins), Comley, Eastman, Nouble, Poku (Harriott, 54 mins)
Attendance: 5,015 (1,232)
Jackson Fire & Security Man of the Match: Harvey Knibbs