Cambridge United produce disappointing display in defeat to Stevenage in Sky Bet League Two
Charlie Carter's first-half goal condemned Cambridge United to a 1-0 defeat to Stevenage in Sky Bet League Two.
It was an even start as although Stevenage attempted to take the game to the visitors, United felt in control of the situation.
The first two sights at goal both fell to Joe Ironside.
In the 11th minute, Kyle Knoyle crossed from the right and as he was falling, Ironside managed to get a shot away that went wide.
Seven minutes later, Ironside got the ball at his feet and turned to fire over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.
The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute, in Stevenage’s first meaningful foray into the United area.
A throw into the box saw Danny Newton's shot blocked, but Carter lashed the loose ball into the net to give the hosts the lead.
Adam May warmed the hands of Stevenage’s Jamie Cumming for the first time in the 31st minute, forcing the keeper to beat out a 25-yard effort.
What followed for the rest of the half was a lot of huff and puff, but very little in the way of chances or penalty area activity.
It meant, heading into the second half, that United had to find a way of getting in behind the lines to cause Stevenage greater problems.
Stevenage had only their second shot of the game in the 49th minute, with Newton seizing on a loose ball to then fire a low shot which Callum Burton held.
Quick-thinking from the United keeper then saw him launch the ball long, which Paul Mullin capitalised on and attempted to chip Cumming from 25 yards, but it went over the bar.
In the 53rd minute, a corner fell to May at the edge of the area, but his fierce shot was off target.
Stevenage were definitely carrying a greater threat going forward, and Arthur Read drew a full-length diving save from Burton to deny the hosts doubling their lead.
United’s second attempt on target came through a tame effort from Mullin in the 68th minute that was easily held by Cumming.
It became an insipid encounter from thereon in, with United failing to take the game to the hosts, who were content to sit in and counter if they got the opportunity.
There was one last throw of the dice for United, and it almost reaped rewards, but Harry Darling's close-range effort in the third minute of stoppage time was brilliantly blocked by Stevenage defender Terence Vancooten.
It was not to be for the U's, and the win was certainly deserved by Stevenage.
Stevenage: Cumming, Coker, Cuthbert, Carter, Newton, Hutton, Vancooten, Read, Smith, Pett, Aitchison.
Substitutes: Oteh (Atichion, 73), James-Wildin (Coker, 80). Not used: Johnson, Vincelot, Prosser, Marsh, List.
Cambridge United: Burton, Knoyle, Darling, Taylor, Dunk, Hannant, May, Digby, Iredale, Mullin, Ironside
Substitutes: Knibbs (Ironside, 63), Davies (Iredale, 63), El Mizouni (May, 78). Not used: Mitov, Cundy, Worman, Neal.
Referee: Thomas Bramall.
Booking: Cambridge United - May (foul, 48), Darling (foul, 62).