Cambridge United hit by Exeter City sucker punch

PUBLISHED: 16:58 07 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:47 07 April 2018

Jabo Ibehre scored for Cambridge United against Exeter City.

Jabo Ibehre scored for Cambridge United against Exeter City.

Iliffe Media Ltd

Grecians produced second-half comeback to send U’s to defeat

Jake Taylor struck a late winner as Cambridge United suffered a 3-2 defeat at home to Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two.

The U’s were the dominant force in the first half and deservedly held the lead at the break, but the Grecians rallied and twice came back from behind to earn victory.

United flew out of the blocks, and were the dominant team for all of the first half.

They were able to make Exeter look like a mid-table side, rather than one chasing promotion.

There were a couple of half chances for George Maris and Jevani Brown before David Amoo had a great opportunity in the 19th minute, but unmarked at the back post, his scuffed shot was cleared.

Pym came to the rescue of Exeter a minute later, spectacularly tipping away Greg Taylor’s back-post header from George Maris’ corner.

The U’s kept pressuring and in the 21st minute, Harrison Dunk dug out a cross from the left which reached Amoo, who flicked back across goal for Ibehre, whose header was cleared on the line.

Exeter had a brief flourish, with Hiram Boateng having a curling 25-yard free-kick punched away by David Forde, who was then alert to save former U Robbie Simpson’s flicked header down low.

A fierce drive by Brad Halliday from 25 yards had to be pushed away by Pym, but in the 43rd minute, United had the lead.

A good, low ball in from the right by Halliday did not illicit the cleanest of strikes by Ibehre, but he got enough on it to find the back of the net.

Exeter needed to do something to get back in the game at half time, and they took off Simpson to bring on Matt Jay.

It had the deserved effect as the Grecians became much more of a threat.

United were dealt a blow in the 54th minute as Ibehre, who had led the line superbly, went off injured, with Barry Corr entering the fray.

It was only a few minutes later, though, that Exeter equalised.

A misplaced pass was seized upon and Boateng got to the byline to send over a fierce cross which Jayden Stockley, who also had a spell on loan at United, headed into the back of the net.

It did not knock United off their stride though, and they were back in front in the 67th minute.

Maris got possession about 25 yards out and placed a side-footed shot high up, past the diving Pym.

The U’s nearly increased their lead in the 76th minute as Brown struck a brilliant curling, dipping chip over Pym which cannoned off the bar.

Exeter ramped up the pressure and got an equaliser in the 84th minute.

A cross into the box was not dealt with and Jake Taylor’s effort was blocked, but substitute Jay reacted quickest to stab home.

Exeter then took the lead, with the U’s defence at sea with a ball into the area, and Taylor was able to side foot home.

The U’s had hope of snatching an equaliser with 10 minutes added on time.

From a corner, there was some frantic last-ditch defending from Exeter and from another set piece, Barry Corr headed wide at the back post.

But it was not to be for the U’s, who can feel hard done by about the result.

Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Taft, Carroll, Amoo, Deegan, Maris, Dunk, Brown, Ibehre.

Substitutes: Corr (Ibehre, 54), Davies (Amoo, 83). Legge (Taylor, 89). Not used: Mitov, Waters, O’Neil, Lewis.

Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, James, Tillson, Moxey, Taylor, Storey, Boateng, Simpson, Stockley.

Substitutes: Jay (Simpson, 45), Wilson (Woodman, 78), Croll (Boateng, (90+2). Not used: Jones, Archibald-Henville, Brunt, Loft.

Referee : Martin Coy.

Attendance: 4,054 (390 away).

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