Match Report: The U's 1-0 The Imps
Cambridge, one of my favourite away games. Proper football ground with a team that normally fights for everything. Seems I am not alone in thinking that as the 454 travelling Imps, a magnificent turnout, showed.
When the team was announced, I have to say I found it very difficult to see why Todd Jordan was thrown into the fray, up-front on the left. Surely Bohan Dixon would have been a better choice? Apart from that there were no great surprises other than Fairhurst being out injured. That one escaped my radar. Anyone else know about him being crocked? The starting XI was a little too defensive, or negative perhaps, for my liking.
From the off the game was pretty much end-to-end. Cambridge looked very capable on the ball and the front-men Sam-Yorke and Cunnington looked a real handful, the former because of his movement and pace and the latter due to his size which he uses to good effect. The Imps midfield was very impressive during the first 20 minutes of the game, quickly closing Cambridge down and snapping into the tackle. Nolan and Power were at the fore-front of the efforts. For Cambridge, Berry was the man that impressed.
The first half-an-hour was, expectedly, tight with few chances. The ever willing Tomlinson worked tirelessly on the left of the attack and showed a high-level of effort and tenacity but to no real effect. Talking about the left of the attack, why did we only have an attack on the left? There was no attacking effort down the right-hand side at all. Rumour has it that the Cambridge left-back popped out for a fag and a Big Mac after the first 20 minutes!!
39 minutes in and the balloon was popped. Nolan failed to clear from inside the penalty area and Berry rifled the ball into the top of the net from 12 yards out leaving Farman helpless. The Imps 1 down. It was very tough on City as the defence had looked very solid up until that point and for the 10 minutes prior to the goal had the upper hand during which Nolan had gone close with a powerful strike after good work, again down the left, by Newton and Tomlinson.
For the rest of the first half City strove manfully to get an equaliser. A minute before the interval Tomlinson broke down the left and hit a low skimming cross into the box which Sheridan could not quite get on the end of.
Half-time and City are behind.
The second half started with Cambridge, now full of confidence, in control for the first 15 minutes. Both Berry and Donaldson went close for the U`s during this period. Lincoln gradually worked their way back into the game and became more dominant. On the hour mark Luke Foster had a reasonable chance from a corner and then again another one a minute later which he lobbed over the bar.
With Lincoln maintaining some pressure but not looking overly threatening, manager Simpson decided now was the time for change. On went Dixon for Foster and Danny Rowe for Sheridan. Immediately, Lincoln looked far more dangerous going forward and the hopes of the Imps fans rose. They really got behind the team, even more so than earlier in the game.
Lincoln really upped their efforts to press for an equaliser with Nolan and Newton both having good shots just wide or high. In the 80th minute the Imps hordes thought the equaliser had arrived when Rowe hit a superb shot low just inside the right-hand post of the U's goal but keeper Maxwell pulled off a magnificent save to turn the ball out for a corner kick.
The game then started to peter out with Cambridge using up the time in a way that has become all too familiar in the modern game. Tom Miller 'took one for the team' when getting booked for holding back a Cambridge midfielder in the 82nd minute. Lincoln continued to 'huff and puff' but, in truth, the game had gone from them. Four minutes of extra-time was allotted by the referee, who I thought had a very decent game, during which Alan Power collected a red card for a foul on the Cambridge left-back, now back from his trip to the Golden Arches. As always, there was some controversy as to whether Power's somewhat reckless tackle should have been rewarded with a 'Straight Red', but the linesman had no doubt that it was a dismissible offence and informed the referee of his belief. The reaction to the tackle by the U's defenders was over-the-top and the pushing and shoving and general handbags that followed were not in keeping with the rest of the game. Needless to say Power disappeared for a slightly early bath and will not be making another appearance for at least 3 games!
Final score: Cambridge United 1 - Lincoln City 0.
Was it a fair result? I think that, on balance, the U's just about shaded the game. If there had been more attacking intent from the Imps earlier in the game, would they have got something from it? That is a matter of opinion but this correspondent believes so.
My MOTM was Sean Newton closely followed by Tomlinson. The defence looked solid with Boyce making some excellent tackles in difficult situations. The Midfield? I would prefer to see Fofana and Rowe in the starting line-up for the Wrexham game replacing Foster and the suspended Power respectively. The industrious Nolan had a good game although he gave the ball away on too many occasions and Power played well until he saw red. Sheridan was fairly impotent, although he put in his usual hard-working effort and Foster was fairly one-dimensional and showed little going forward. The front men worked hard but Jordan looked totally out of position. Hopefully at least one of our injured forwards will be back for Monday to help out Tomlinson.
All in all a good away trip with the final score being the only real disappointment. UTI.