Paul Lewis pounces for double to secure Cambridge United triumph over Scunthorpe United in Sky Bet League Two
Paul Lewis struck twice as Cambridge United earned a 3-2 win over 10-man Scunthorpe in Sky Bet League Two.
It was a rollercoaster evening at the Abbey Stadium, which had a sending off and a goal for the visitors in the first half, but then came to life after the break from a U's perspective.
It was Lewis that had the first effort of the game, shanking a shot over at the near post in the 18th minute, but the first real talking point arrived four minutes later.
In the middle of the Scunthorpe half, Harvey Knibbs had the ball but James Perch came flying in with a tackle that was deemed reckless by referee Charles Breakspear and earned the visitors’ midfielder a straight red card.
It was just the lack of a final ball that was costing United, but Knibbs went closet to breaking the deadlock only to be thwarted by a brilliant save by Scunthorpe keeper Rory Watson.
The ball fell to the U’s striker inside the area, and his effort seemed to be heading for the top corner, but Watson, at full stretch, tipped the effort round the post. Knibbs then forced Watson into a save down low.
Despite their 10 men, Scunthorpe were growing into the game, forcing a couple of corners in quick succession.
From the second, in the 41st minute, Regan Slater’s set piece was met by an unmarked Rory McArdle to head down and in from just outside the six-yard box to give Scunthorpe the lead.
As the U’s headed into the break, it just felt that they needed to be more accurate with the final ball and work that bit harder to stretch the Scunthorpe defence.
United’s response did not take long to materialise in the second half.
A great cross by Leon Davies was superbly touched back across the area from the back post and Knibbs finished off from close range.
Almost immediately from the restart, the U’s earned another corner. It was cleared, but only as far as Greg Taylor, whose delivery back into the box created a melee from which Lewis drove into the back of the net.
Lewis went close to adding a third with a fine header that was saved by Watson.
However, there was a shock to the system for the U’s as Scunthorpe hit back through the same combination that delivered their first goal to get an equaliser.
Slater’s free kick from the right was met with a header at the near post by McArdle.
Sam Smith should have done better with a header in the 73rd minute, but the U’s did regain the lead within a minute.
A superb delivery from the left by Luke Hannant was met by the head of Lewis to get his second goal of the match.
A deflected effort from George Maris at the edge of the box went narrowly wide and, after the resulting corner was cleared, the midfielder's 20-yard effort was easily held by Watson.
There was a late scare as Matthew Lund's ball across the six-yard box was met by Jordan Clarke at the back post, but an unbelievable overhead clearance by Hannant on the line preserved United's lead and, ultimately, the three points.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Davies, Darling, Taylor, Taft, Dunk, O’Neil, Lewis, Roles, Smith, Knibbs.
Substitutes: Hannant (Dunk, 67), Maris (O'Neil, 72), Richards (Knibbs, 77). Not used: Burton, Dallas, John, Lambe.
Scunthorpe United: Watson, Ntlhe, Lund, Butler, Wooton, Hammill, Perch, Gilliead, McArdle, McGahey, Eisa.
Substitutes: Slater (Hammill, 27), Clarke (McGahey, 80). Subs not used: Eastwood, Songo’o, Hallam, McAtee, Dawson.
Bookings: Cambridge United - Darling (foul), Taft (foul), Dunk (foul); Scunthorpe - Gilliead (foul, 26), Wooton (foul, 45).
Red card: Scunthorpe - Perch (reckless challenge, 22).
Attendance: 3,917 (away 192).