Cambridge United beaten by Matty Taylor goal that gives Cheltenham Town all three Sky Bet League One points at the Abbey Stadium
Cambridge United suffered a 1-0 home defeat during this afternoon’s home Sky Bet League One encounter against Cheltenham Town.
Given the fact that the visitors arrived at the Cledara Abbey Stadium with one of the worst away records in the division this season – alongside being on a run of three straight defeats – it is a result that will go down as the most disappointing of head coach Neil Harris’ 10 league games at the helm.
And with the gap to the relegation zone being cut to four points in the process, that will be another source of frustration with United passing up the opportunity to put further daylight between themselves and danger.
While the first half was far from a free-flowing game of football, United nevertheless carved out three chances that they will have been disappointed not to convert.
With 14 minutes on the clock Lyle Taylor raced clean through one-on-one with Luke Southwood, but the Cheltenham goalkeeper stood tall and won the battle of wits to keep the scoreline level.
It was a much more straightforward save for Southwood in the 27th minute when Jack Lankester shot straight at him, while 60 seconds later Elias Kachunga lifted the ball over the top from six yards out having been picked out by Lyle Taylor’s driven cross from the left byline.
The visitors also carried a threat and thought that they had broken the deadlock in the 26th minute when George Lloyd turned in Matty Taylor’s low effort, only for the celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag. Cheltenham will have felt hard done by given that subsequent replays showed that Lloyd was in fact being played onside by United left-back Danny Andrew.
Opportunities were few and far between during the opening exchanges of an attritional second half. It was Cambridge that carved out the best opening when Lankester latched on Paul Digby’s lofted pass forward and rounded Southwood, but with the angle against him the number 10 tried to cut the ball back and the danger was cleared.
And that missed opportunity – as well as the ones that went begging during the first half – came back to haunt United in the 65th minute. Jordan Cousins was caught in possession deep inside his own half and Cheltenham sprung into life as Will Ferry fed Matty Taylor, who lashed his shot into the bottom corner from an angle that was narrowing all of the time.
United boss Harris reacted with a quadruple change and a switch to three at the back in the hope that it would give his side greater impetus and more of a foothold on proceedings.
It could – and perhaps should – have paid dividends in the 80th minute when one of the substitutes, Maculey Bonne, was picked out all alone inside the box by Lyle Taylor, but the former Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town striker mis-hit his shot and the ball bounced harmlessly through to Southwood.
And the striker making his home debut had another chance just one minute later after being picked out by Sullay Kaikai’s right-wing cross, but Bonne was unable to make a clean connection.
Those two were the only significant sights of goal Cambridge had in the closing stages, with Darrell Clarke’s Cheltenham seeing out the contest in a professional manner. Of their seven league wins this season, two have come at the expense of United.
Cambridge United: Stevens, L Bennett (Bonne 70’), Morrison, R Bennett (Ibsen Rossi 70’), Andrew, Digby (Thomas 70’), Cousins, Lankester (Brophy 70’), Kaikai, Kachunga, Taylor
Cheltenham Town: Southwood, Long, Smith (Bonds 73’), Davies, Shepherd, Ferry, Pett, Kinsella, Sercombe (Harrop 90+4’), Lloyd, Taylor (Nuttall 77’)
Attendance: 7,047 (207 away fans)