Cambridge United marched towards the cusp of Sky Bet League Two promotion with a thrilling 2-4 win over Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium...
The division’s top scorers added four more goals to their tally on a topsy turvy night in London, as a double for Joe Ironside, and second half goals from Shilow Tracey and Paul Mullin ensured Mark Bonner’s men moved to within one result away from promotion.
The U’s made just one change with Wes Hoolahan rested for the clash and Shilow Tracey stepping into the side.
United largely controlled proceedings throughout the first period, and limited Orient’s play throughout, although twice Callum Burton was called into action to stop Orient’s undeniable key threat Danny Johnson.
Firstly the U’s shot stopper got a strong left glove to an effort across goal from the forward inside the U’s area, before Johnson then surprisingly spurned a one on one opportunity on the 14th minute, which Burton diverted wide with his boot, from a position many would have expected the O’s man to do United damage.
As for the U’s biggest goal threat, Paul Mullin, his first effort from 20 yards after cutting in from the left on to his right boot was a comfortable save low at the feet of Oreint keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
Mullin therefore turned his attention to providing for a stylish opening U’s goal on 18 minutes, carving a through ball between full back and centre half, for Jack Iredale to deliver first time into Joe Ironside who bulldozed his path through to score at close range.
Bonner’s men should perhaps have extended their lead during a first half purple patch following the goal. Shilow Tracey danced his way through the O’s defence before firing over from just inside the area, and Hiram Boateng too failed to make Vigouroux work from a similar position on 40 minutes.
So when Dan Kemp latched on to a loose ball from a rare cross into the U’s box moments half time, and scrappily levelled for the home side against the run of play, United would certainly have been frustrated not to have held an advantage at the break.
The U’s immediately sought about making amends in the second half, Hiram Boateng’s fierce shot forcing Vigouroux to dive wildly to his left to get gloves to the ball and stop United restoring the lead.
United remained the team in the ascendency, steadily continued to apply the pressure on the O’s who really only offered a threat on the counter attack with long balls up to Johnson.
Bonner’s men held their nerve and regained their lead on 64 minutes, Shilow Tracey similarly to Kemp earlier in the contest pouncing on a rebound save from Vigouroux to register United’s second of the game.
And five minutes later the U’s were into what looked to be an unassailable advantage, when Greg Taylor was bundled to the ground and Paul Mullin duly stepped up to nail his 29th League goal of the campaign into the bottom right corner.
However, Orient fired back with 17 minutes to play as United were undone with another speculative cross into the area, which Wilkinson directed against the foot of the post and somehow the loose ball ricocheted into the U’s net from a combination of bodies.
An action packed game rolled on though, and Ironside made no mistake in bagging his second of the game soon after when quite literally thrown a gift by the hosts who made an almighty mess of a throw in deep in their own half, with the forward hammering home a fourth for the U’s on 80 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.