An inspired substitution by Cambridge United saw Lincoln City suffer their first defeat of the season in their first away match on Tuesday, August 14th.
Cambridge got off to the perfect start when Robbie Willmott’s cross was headed in by Tom Elliott, who made it two goals in as many games for his new club.
Lincoln took a while to get going in the game. Minutes after the goal, Alan Power’s free-kick was dealt with by the Cambridge goalkeeper, Jonathan Hedge.
Cambridge had a penalty appeal turned down soon after as Andy Pugh struggled to make a cross. Lincoln’s Luke Daley and Adam Smith on the wings were lively presences, and the former’s skills led to a first set-piece for the visitors on nine minutes.
The former Norwich man, Daley tried to turn provider again, but ex-Cambridge striker, Rob Duffy couldn’t keep his header down. Four minutes later, the same man had a header on target, which was brilliantly held by Hedge.
Cambridge were enjoying more possession and midfielder, Tom Shaw should have doubled Cambridge’s lead but shot wide with the goal at his mercy. The home side continued to counter-attack and Andy Pugh was again at the centre of the attacks with a header over from Rory McAuley’s cross.
Lincoln’s goal was living a charmed life and, following a corner-kick, centre back, Andrew Boyce headed home from a few yards out to level the scores – bagging his tenth career goal. Three minutes were added on at the end of the first half, but neither side could make another chance, leaving the half-time score at 1-1.
Former Lincoln man, Sam Smith replaced goalscorer, Elliott for Cambridge at half-time.
Lincoln enjoyed a good spell of pressure after the half-time interval, as Dan Gray’s long throw and cross caused Cambridge problems. The home side’s defence were also having to be bold, blocking shots that came their way.
The Imp’s Adam Smith was proving to be a livewire again on the wing and had two shots denied in the space of a few minutes. With an hour gone, Jez George turned to his substitutes bench and brought on Adriano Moke for Andy Pugh. It would prove to be a turning point.
Dan Gray and John Nutter tried their luck with threatening crosses for Lincoln and it was also a Lincoln man who received the first booking. Jamie Taylor was cautioned for timewasting.
Harrison Dunk was looking menacing for Cambridge and his inch-perfect cross only needed a touch on 68 minutes. Dunk’s presence on the left wing was beginning to worry Lincoln’s defence and after cutting inside forcefully, his lay off found its way to the substitute, Moke, who smashed the ball into the top corner to make it 2-1 to Cambridge.
Lincoln put on Jake Sheridan and Vadine Oliver to try and force an equaliser, but it was to come to nothing.
Moke had a chance to seal the win, but fired over after he cut inside. Alan Power’s deflected late shot from range was too tame for Jonathan Hedge as Cambridge ran out the winners by two goals to one.
Paul Farman – 6
Didn’t have to make too many saves. Unlucky to have conceded the goals.
John Nutter – 5
Disappointing overall. Had little impact on the game and was substituted late on.
Gary Mills – 6
A few decent touches but, again, couldn’t make much impact.
Andrew Boyce – 6
His goal boosted his confidence. Was pretty assured in the defence.
Dan Gray – 7
His long balls and long throws gave Lincoln options and was their best defensive
Adam Smith – 7
Confident on the wing. Kept the ball well on the whole.
Gary Mills – 6
Did not have the kind of impact he would have wanted as captain.
Alan Power – 7
The Linc Sport’s Man of the Match. Long free-kicks and long balls into the box caused Cambridge some problems.
Luke Daley – 7
At the centre of most Lincoln attacks. Had great pace and decent vision.
Rob Duffy – 6
Two chances in the first half but quiet in the second half. Backtracked more in the second half.
Jamie Taylor – 5
Cautioned for timewasting. Not much of a threat up front.
Jake Sheridan – 5
Came on too late to make an impact.
Vadine Oliver – 5
Did not see much of the ball and lacked the kind of super-sub presence. Flagged offside once