Paul Mullin double helps Cambridge United beat Newport County in Sky Bet League Two
Paul Mullin struck twice as Cambridge United earned a 2-1 win over Sky Bet League Two leaders Newport County at the Abbey Stadium.
The U’s striker got a goal in each half, both crafted by Wes Hoolahan, and it was enough to seal the win despite Scott Twine’s wonder goal giving Newport hope of mounting a comeback.
It was a really entertaining first half, with both sides playing some really neat football, and although chances were at a premium, that was as much to do with the quality of defending as anything else.
United had a different look to their starting line-up, withHoolahan playing in a floating role off lone striker Mullin and it was creating space for the U’s.
Padraig Among had a glancing header from Liam Shepherd’s cross go wide after 16 minutes, while United had a couple of efforts from distance that failed to troubled Newport keeper Nick Townsend.
There was a flashpoint in the 22nd minute, when Joss Labadie fouled Luke Hannant and there were claims that the U’s man kicked out in retaliation after the foul, but referee Carl Brook took no action other than to award the initial free kick.
A great run by Hoolahan saw him slide a pass into Mullin, but rather than shoot first time, he took cut back inside to avoid the keeper and saw his effort blocked by a defender.
The breakthrough came four minutes later though.
Defender Scott Bennett missed Harrison Dunk’s pass to Hoolahan, and the Irishman’s low cross from the left was pinpoint for Mullin to tap home.
The end of the first half saw an epic rain deluge, and when the players came out for the start of the second half, there was doubt whether it could continue.
But the work of Ian Darler and his grounds team to remove huge amounts of standing water, saw the referee give the go ahead to resume.
The conditions were having an inhibiting factor, but not enough to stop United scoring a second in the 61st minute.
After Paul Digby picked up a clearance and moved play on to Dunk, it ended with Hoolahan sliding in Mullin to unleash a fierce shot from a tight angle.
Six minutes later, a wonder strike from 30 yards by Twine, which dipped past Mitov, gave Newport some hope of getting back into the game.
Apart from a couple of off-target efforts, Newport were not able to do enough to force an equaliser and so on the day he was an awarded a BEM in the Queen's Birthday Honours list , Darler's hard work on the pitch with his team was rewarded by the players with three points.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Knoyle, Darling, Taylor, Iredale, Hannant, Digby, May, Dunk, Hoolahan, Mullin.
Substitutes: Boateng (May, 76), Ironside (Mullin, 81), El Mizouni (Hoolahan, 81). Not used: Burton, Cundy, Davies, El Mizouni.
Newport County: Townsend, Haynes, Labadie, Dolan, Amond, Sheehan, Abrahams, Bennett, Twine, Demetriou, Shephard.
Substitutes: Ellison (Amond, 53), Janneh (Bennett, 63), Wilmott (Shephard, 78). Not used: King, Baker, Webb, Woodiwiss.
Referee: Carl Brook.
Bookings: United - May (foul, 60), Mullin (foul, 77); Newport - Bennett (foul, 25), Haynes (foul, 90).