Paul Lewis earns praise for influential display in Cambridge United win over Scunthorpe United
Colin Calderwood hailed the influential impact of Paul Lewis as Cambridge United earned a 3-2 victory over 10-man Scunthorpe United in Sky Bet League Two.
The midfielder scored two second-half goals as the U’s came back from a goal down against a Scunthorpe side that had James Perch sent off in the first half to clinch their first win at the Abbey since February.
“He’s been very influential all season, and that’s what I was told Paul can do,” said U’s head coach Calderwood.
“We’ve played him a little bit more reserved since Liam (O’Neil) has been out, so he has brought control to the midfield.
“But when we are able to attack and he can run from a midfield area, his timing is excellent and his goal return is very good throughout his career.
“It’s a great asset to have. It’s quite ironic that it was his man for their goal, and he has stuck his hand up straight away, so I’m really delighted for him because you feel that as a player – when it’s your responsibility that your marker scores at any point.
“It’s nice to come back from that mistake as the influential man of the match – the really important moments of the game, he was involved in them all and fortunately we win.”
United handed a debut to new loan signing from Tottenham Hotspur Jack Roles, and their cause was helped in the 22nd minute when Scunthorpe midfielder Perch was shown a red card for a reckless challenge on striker Harvey Knibbs.
Despite the U’s numerical advantage, Scunthorpe took the lead in the 41st minute, an unmarked Rory McArdle rising high to head home a corner.
However, United replied early in the second half.
Leon Davies’ cross from the right was turned back across the area by Lewis for Knibbs to mark his first start with a goal from close range.
Within two minutes, United had the lead. A ball into the box created a melee and Lewis reacted best to drive a shot into the back of the net.
Scunthorpe responded through another header from McArdle to make it 2-2 in the 61st minute, but the U’s regained the lead 13 minutes later.
Luke Hannant’s cross from the left was headed home by Lewis to put the U’s 3-2 ahead, and they held on for the win.
Calderwood said: “I’m delighted for the home fans to see some goals because we’ve had numerous 0-0s – but, as was said to me, it’s ruining my reputation as a defensive coach!
“The good news is we look as if we can score, even 11 v 11 I thought we had enough threat, but you can see why they have been a League One club – they proved really difficult to put away.
“Of course, we’ve conceded from two set-plays and although it wasn’t the young ones who were involved in that, I think it’s a great example and learning curve for them of the importance of re-starts.
“I thought we were fairly fluent, very controlled and we waited. The addition of Luke Hannant gave us a forward thrust in the second half.”
Marc Richards and Harry Darling were on target for the U’s last Saturday as they won 2-1 at Colchester United.
United are back in action at the Abbey on Saturday (August 24) when Oldham Athletic are the visitors.