Sam Smith and Alfie May share braces as Cambridge United and Cheltenham Town draw in League One
Sam Smith and Alfie May got two goals apiece as Cambridge United and Cheltenham Town battled out a 2-2 draw in the final match of the Sky Bet League Two season at the Abbey.
Smith scored the U's first after 22 minutes but May equalised within a minute. Smith then put United ahead again in the 50th minute, but May drew Cheltenham level in stoppage time, despite the Robins having captain Will Boyle sent off for two yellow cards.
There was a bright start to the game, and there was an early chance for United.
Wes Hoolahan delivered a sumptuous outside of the foot floated cross for Smith, whose header went straight at Cheltenham keeper Scott Flinders.
There was an open feel to the match, and it was the visitors' turn to go on the attack next, with May hitting a shot from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection to go wide for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, May's effort from just inside the area was charged down and deflected over the bar.
United took the lead in the 22nd minute.
Harvey Knibbs produced some good work to drive to the edge of the area and get the ball away to Smith, who hit a first time curling shot into the bottom corner to Flinders' left.
However, they were only ahead for a minute.
Callum Wright flicked a pass into the area which took a deflection off a United foot to end up with May, who took advantage as the U's appealed for offside to give keeper Will Mannion no chance.
The hosts carried the greater threat for the remainder of the half.
A floated pass by Hoolahan was taken on the chest by Knibbs, who was crowded out as the ball went wide for a corner.
It was a similar outcome for Liam O'Neil's chance from the angle, which took a deflection off Charlie Raglan to hit the bar and bounce to safety for Cheltenham.
There was a bit of stramash at the end of the half which resulted in O'Neil and Cheltenham's Sean Long being booked, with the U's man seemingly having taken exception to an earlier challenge by a Robins' player.
Smith was at the double in the 50th minute with a lovely goal.
From the left just inside the Cheltenham half, Jack Iredale floated a brilliant ball into the unmarked Smith, who drilled a first time shot into the far corner from around the penalty spot.
United should have made it 3-1 in the 55th minute but, when breaking clean through, Tracey shot straight at Flinders. Knibbs' effort from the corner was deflected wide.
Liam Bennett struck a 25-yard curler which Flinders produced a full-length dive to keep out, and then Knibbs was crowded out with the rebound.
Cheltenham went straight down the other end, and May could see the whites of Mannion's eyes, but blazed wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
Cheltenham were reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute when captain Boyle was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Joe Ironside. He had been booked earlier in the half for a foul on Lloyd Jones.
With three minutes to go, there seemed to be a symbolic moment,
Hoolahan's number went up to be substituted, and it seemed to be a telling as the 39-year-old, who is out of contract this summer, clapped to all sides of the ground and all his U's team-mates came over to give him a pat on the back. Equally as noteworthy was his replacement, 16-year-old Kai Yearn for his league debut.
But there was a sting in the tail as a slip by U's defender Jubril Okedina in the first minute of stoppage time allowed May in to side foot past Mannion for Cheltenham's equaliser.
It was an entertaining match to watch and while it may not have been a victory, it brings to a conclusion a memorable campaign for United.
Cambridge United: Mannion, Bennett, Okedina, Jones, Iredale, O'Neil, Simper, Hoolahan, Tracey, Knibbs, Smith.
Substitutes: May (O'Neil, 62), Ironside (Tracey, 76). Subs not used: Mitov, Brophy, Ironside, Lankester, Worman, Yearn.
Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Long, Pollock, Raglan, Freestone, Sercombe, May, Boyle, Wright, Lloyd, Bonds.
Substitutes: Brown (Long, 62), Ramsay (Freestone, 73), Williams (Bonds, 73). Subs not used: Evans, Chapman, Hutchinson, Guinan.
Referee: Tom Evans.
Attendance: 5,880 (away 392).