Boxing Day joy for Boro at Cambridge
Cambridge United 1 Stevenage Boro 3 Boro closed the gap at the top of the Blue Square Premier to just two points after a convincing win at Cambridge United on Boxing Day. While Oxford s match against Rushden & Diamonds was postponed, Graham Westley s me
Cambridge United 1 Stevenage Boro 3
Boro closed the gap at the top of the Blue Square Premier to just two points after a convincing win at Cambridge United on Boxing Day.
While Oxford's match against Rushden & Diamonds was postponed, Graham Westley's men took full advantage by seeing off the challenge of Martin Ling's side despite United taking the lead after just five minutes.
Mark Albrighton, who continued to deputise for injured skipper Mark Roberts, was at fault as he misjudged a long Richard Wilmot pass, letting Chris Holroyd get goal side of him.
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In trying to make up for his error, Albrighton tried to pull back United's leading marksman but only succeeded in convincing the referee to point to the spot.
Danny Crow stepped up to confidently slide home the penalty and Boro looked like they had given themselves a mountain to climb.
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However, they gradually grew into the contest and Yemi Odubade restored parity from the spot in the 27th minute when he was fouled by Anthony Tonkin.
Odubade had skipped past the United defender only to be hauled down and the former Oxford man sent Danny Potter the wrong way to make it 1-1.
Moments later came the defining moment of the contest when Wayne Hatswell was shown a straight red card for an X-rated challenge on Chris Beardsley.
Boro failed to build on their man advantage for the remainder of the half however and Cambridge would have gone back in front just before the break had Chris Day not produced an excellent save to deny Holroyd after the striker had been played through on goal.
Westley decided he needed a change of personnel at half time and brought on Joel Byrom and Charlie Griffin for Eddie Odhiambo and Albrighton.
The change paid dividends in the 54th minute when Griffin latched on to an Odubade cross to tap home and secure his 11th goal of the season.
Boro looked to try and put Cambridge out of sight but Boro had Day to thank again when he produced a magnificent save to deny Robbie Willmott.
Chris Beardsley finally put the result beyond doubt when he capitalised on fine work down the right flank by Ronnie Henry to finish expertly late on.
Boro (4-4-2): Day, Henry, Ashton, Albrighton (Byrom 46), Laird, Bridges, Murphy, Bostwick, Odhiambo (Griffin 46 (Boylan 83)), Beardsley, Odubade. Subs not used: Bayes, Long.
Cambridge (4-4-2): Potter, Gleeson, Tonkin, Carden, Saah, Hatswell, Ives, Pitt, Holroyd, Crow, Willmott. Substitutes: Beesley, Parkinson, McAuley, Reason, Marriott.