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Second-half strike sees Cambridge City fall to defeat to Hullbridge Sports

Bradley Bell went close with a free kick for City. Picture: Keith Heppell
Bradley Bell went close with a free kick for City. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge City were unable to make their first-half dominance tell as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Hullbridge Sports in the BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division.

The Lilywhites were on top for much of the first period, but suffered a third defeat in a row as Hullbridge Sports grew in confidence to earn victory thanks to Joseph Wright's 56th minute effort.

It was certainly not a tale of woes for City, as they produced some good build-up play at times.

They certainly had the greater share of territory and possession, and it seemed like a matter of time before their passing patterns would lead to the opening goal.

However, as the half wore on, rather than assert their authority, it felt as if they allowed themselves to get frustrated.

Rather than sticking to what they were doing well, creating space through quick passing, they got narrower and narrower as they sought the ball.

It condensed the pitch and made it easier for Hullbridge to defend, while it was crying out for them to stretch the play as much as possible by using Matt Sparrow and Bradley Bell as outlets.

Sparrow definitely looked the most likely avenue for a goal.

His great work to take on the left-back created the first chance for new striker Arel Amu, who, after a neat first touch, blazed over.

Sparrow warmed the hands of Hullbridge keeper Lewis Greene from 25 yards, and a good passing move saw play squared across the six-yard box but was just lacking the final touch.

Bradley Bell then had a 20-yard free kick held by Greene.

However, as Hullbridge had grown into the half, Olayemi Ogunfunmilade got in behind the City defence in the 37th minute to fire agonisingly wide.

City needed to go back to basics after the break, stretching the play to get in behind Hullbridge.

They started brightly, but were hit with a sucker punch.

Lucas Kirkpatrick attempted to get City on the counter from a Hullbridge corner, but his pass went straight to the opposition and, from just inside the area, Joseph Wright curled a brilliant shot beyond Lewis Landers’ despairing dive.

Four minutes later, Amu’s low ball across the six-yard box narrowly evaded the stretching Matt Foy.

As City chased an equaliser, substitute Reece Weekes’ cross reached fellow sub Max Booth, who was off target with his volley.

The Lilywhites had a double let off in the 79th minute as Landers fumbled a long-range effort on to the post and the rebound fell to Ogunfunmilade, who rounded the keeper but then hit the post.

Time was running out for the hosts.

Substitute Harry Farrow side-footed wide after good work from Booth, and then Weekes fired into the side-netting.

Hullbridge went close to making it 2-0 in the 90th minute as Timothy Monsheju draw Landers out of his goal before passing to Albert Bradley, whose effort went just over.

There was still hope for City as Lewis Rolfe’s effort was deflected wide for a corner, but that turned out to be the final chance of the game as the hosts slipped to their third defeat in a row.

Cambridge City: Landers, Kirkpatrick, Walster, Dupray, Dua, Rolfe, Sparrow, Maynard, Amu, Foy, Bell.

Subs: Booth (Bell, 65), Weekes (Foy, 65), Farrow (Sparrow, 82). Subs not used: Davis, Simpson.

Hullbridge Sports: Greene, Homans, Rose, Gumbs, Dunn, Okunja, Ogunfunmilade, Wright, Hornsley.

Subs: Bradley (Salmon, 78), Baxter (Wright, 82), Monsheju (Ogunfunmilade, 83). Subs not used: Taylor, Scarborough.

Referee: Martyn Gospel.

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