The shares were spoiled at the Abbey Stadium as Cambridge United drew 2-2 with Fleetwood Town in their latest Sky Bet League One clash.
The U’s had their work cut out after suffering an instant setback when James Hill headed home. Nonetheless, they showcased fighting spirit to turn the game in their favour after Adam May and Shilow Tracey nestled home. However, the sides could not be separated as a sweet Paddy Lane attempt ensured a point apiece.
Mark Bonner made the solitary change from last weekend’s victory at Portsmouth, with Jubril Okedina making his first league start of the season in the absence of Lloyd Jones. May and George Williams also kept their places after a resolute midweek display.
Both sides had picked up real form heading into what would be an intriguing encounter. The U’s had won three of their last four games and had found the back of the net in all seven of their outings, whereas the visitors were unbeaten in five in all competitions, scoring 14 in the process.
United were dealt their first setback within the 2nd minute of the game when the Cod Army struck the opener. Causing havoc from the get go, an inswinging corner was bundled home by Hill, who rose highest and nodded home.
The hosts’ response was a positive one with James Brophy firing wide of Alex Cairns’ crossbar after doing well to find space centrally in the 6th minute.
They then carved out a sublime piece of play down the left flank on 12, with some fluid passing moves engineered by Jack Iredale, but the full-back’s dangerous floating cross was towards an empty man.
On their next foray into the final third moments later, Paul Digby almost caught out Cairns with a dinked effort from outside of the box which dipped inches wide of the keeper’s left post.
The endeavour was there for the U’s - with some promising wide play showcased and real composure on the ball. Their intent paid off and their tails were up on the 34th minute when they drew level. After biding their time to creep forward, May picked his spot from 25 yards and curled a sweet strike into the bottom corner to deservedly hand United their equaliser.
Iredale almost handed his side the dream conclusion to the first half on the 44th minute when an applaudable free-kick from 25 yards dipped but was denied firmly by the gloves of a diving Cairns. Overall, the home side finished with the momentum after recovering well from their early setback, but remained cautious of their opponents threat from deliveries.
The U’s were celebrating their breakthrough on the 50th minute after the most scintillating of moves. A gut-busting run down the left from Iredale, who beat three men in the process, raced into the box and played it on a plate for Tracey who tapped home from 5 yards to spark jubilation.
Defensively, United remained stubborn and were good value for their lead after offering the visitors to very little opportunities. In their hunt for a third - which would arguably have proven to be the killer blow – Liam O’Neil tested his luck from the edge of the area on the 65th minute with his shot flying straight at Cairns.
It was Fleetwood’s turn to level matters on the 75th minute when substitute Lane cut inside from the right and converted an exquisite curling strike into the roof of the net, setting up a tense and very open conclusion.
Eager to snatch late euphoria, good recycling down the left on 84 from the U’s led to a splitting pass for a marauding James Brophy whose cross was slightly overhit for a looming Sam Smith. The striker had a half attempt in added time via his head, who accrued the power but not the accuracy as it flew just wide of the right post in the last of the afternoon’s action.
Be sure to back the boys in amber on home soil once more on Tuesday night (28th September) when Bonner’s side take on Steve Evans’ Gillingham.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Masterson, Okedina, Iredale, Digby, May (Smith, 83), O’Neil, Brophy, Tracey, Ironside
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Hill, Clarke, Andrew, Johnson, Biggins (Conn-Clarke, 73), Rossiter, Clark (Lane, 54), Camps, G. Garner, Edmondson (J. Garner, 45)
Attendance: 4429 (110 away fans)