It was an action packed afternoon at Sincil Bank this afternoon where The Imps and Cambridge United shared the points.
Matt Rhead headed City into an early lead but the visitors levelled within five minutes courtesy of Jevani Brown to give the U’s a point. However, The Imps stay firmly at the top of SkyBet League Two.
The Imps got off to an almost perfect start going into the lead within the opening ten minutes of the game, City had made steady progress forward right from the kick off with the ball being camped in the Cambridge half and when Bruno Andrade took control down the left he looked up and clipped in a cross with laser like accuracy onto the head of MATT RHEAD and the ball nestled in the corner of the goal.
Rhead was close to being on the scoresheet for a second time within minutes, Andrade again providing the dangerous centre but a combination of George Taft and Greg Taylor managed to hack the ball clear at the last moment.
The action wasn’t to let up, however it was the visiting side who were to get back on terms five minutes after City had taken the lead. Jevani Brown picking up possession out wide on the right before tracking inside to curl the ball into the top corner past a helpless Josh Vickers. The atmosphere was white hot inside Sincil Bank with home areas close to a sellout, and when Shay McCartan smashed a low drive goalwards City’s supporters were close to celebrating a second goal but David Forde did very well to save. The inswinging corner that resulted from Forde’s stop then had to be headed away from the underside of the bar by Ade Azeez, however, the Imps’ cause was dented somewhat when Ellis Chapman was dismissed for a foul on Gary Deegan. Despite the numerical disadvantage, City kept pressing forward but the U’s looked threatening on the break, Azeez breaking through one on one with Vickers racing out of goal to close the angle before making a fine stop.
McCartan forced Forde into a good save with his legs from a shot from rage, as yet again City aimed to stay on the front foot. Harry Toffolo provided a chance for Michael Bostwick who lashed an effort first time which arrowed over the top of the frame of the goal with Forde motionless. Back up the other end of the The U’s were trying their luck around the edge of the area with Brown and then George Maris taking aim unsuccessfully.
The Imps had a reshuffle as Harry Anderson and Matt Rhead came off, with James Wilson and John Akinde coming on before half time. A clever set piece from City found McCartan in the area, he took the ball past one then set Bostwick up, however his effort went over the top.
Gary Deegan smashed a low effort on target which Vickers dived to save, expertly keeping hold of possession after the ball came through a sea of legs in the area as half time crept ever closer. But the final attacking action of the first half went the way of City as a couple of late free kicks almost brought a second goal, first Toffolo sent in a dangerous cross, Forde went up with Akinde only to see the ball make its way to Bostwick, the number 16 looped it goalwards only to see Louis John hooked clear. Toffolo again pinging in another cross which pinballed around in the area, Scott Wharton prodding goalwards only to see his effort blocked.
The Imps 1 Cambridge United 1
City started the half quickly, Andrade breaking free and latching onto a neat ball forward by Scott Wharton before trying an unorthodox prod towards goal, but it almost caught out Forde but the ball hit the side netting with the Imps’ supporters trying their upmost to urge their team forward.
Cambridge were once again trying from outside the box to penetrate The Imps’ goal, but Maris found Bostwick in the way, committed to the cause as ever. Andrade and Toffolo linked to win a corner for City in front of the Stacey West stand from which Wharton was only a whisker away from slamming home. The U’s were flapping somewhat at the back as the red and white tide continued to flow towards them. Akinde made a fantastic forward run, leaving three defenders in his wake before sliding the ball across towards McCartan, his lunging efforts to get the ball almost bore fruit but somehow the visitors blocked for yet another City corner.
Toffolo found the head of Wilson who couldn’t direct his effort on target, but the ten men of the Imps were continually having the territorial advantage. Cambridge were reduced to only an occasional foray forward, with Reggie Lambe the only person able to fashion a shooting chance as he sliced his effort over the top.
The U’s were doing their best to make the extra man count as the second half wore on, winning a number of corners but City remained resolute and determined, Brad Halliday curling a low effort that skipped off the turf but was wide of goal as Vickers dove to his left.
The City ‘keeper was soon to be diving to his left again, this time confidently getting two strong hands to Maris’ effort from 25 yards.
The Imps weren’t settling for the point, still trying to break through and create a match winning opportunity as the home supporters looked to rouse the players with the game edging towards full time. The U’s almost nicked it at the death but found Vickers as alert as ever, making a vital double save deep into injury time.
The Imps 1 Cambridge United 1
1 Josh VICKERS
6 Scott WHARTON
7 Tom PETT
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Bruno ANDRADE
12 Ellis CHAPMAN
14 Harry TOFFOLO
16 Michael BOSTWICK
17 Shay McCARTAN
23 Neal EARDLEY
26 Harry ANDERSON
24 Sam SLOCOMBE
2 Kellan GORDON
10 Matt GREEN (76’ for McCartan)
15 James WILSON (32’ for Anderson)
18 Bernard MENSAH
29 John AKINDE
30 Jordan ADEBAYO-SMITH
GOAL: Rhead 6’
Red Card: Chapman 20’
Booked: Eardley 55’
1 David FORDE
2 Brad HALLIDAY
4 George TAFT
5 Greg TAYLOR
6 Gary DEEGAN
8 Liam O’NEIL
10 Ade AZEEZ
18 George MARIS
19 Reggie LAMBE
20 Jevani BROWN
25 Louis JOHN
30 Finlay IRON
7 David AMOO (46’ for O’Neil)
15 Emmanuel OSADEBE (88’ for Maris)
16 Harry DARLING
21 Matt FOY
22 Paul LEWIS (90’ for Azeez)
23 Tom KNOWLES
Goal: Brown 11’
Booked: Deegan 45’ Taylor 45’ Halliday 59’
Referee: Lee Collins
Assistants: Hristo Karaivanov & Ian Smedley
4th Official: Wayne Grunnill
Attendance : 9,108 (272 Cambridge United fans)
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