Super-sub Ryan Ingrey fires Cambridge City to victory over Soham Town Rangers
Ryan Ingrey fired a late winner to help Cambridge City beat Soham Town Rangers 2-1 at home in the Pitching In Isthmian League, North Division.
Sam Kelly had given Soham the lead after 15 minutes, only for Tom Hitchcock to equalise for City before both sides had a player sent off. Ingrey then pounced for a well-crafted winner in the 86th minute.
It was a strange game in that it had a chaotic, frenetic feel in the first 20 minutes.
Neither side could get a control of the match, and so it meant that they were both having to expend a huge amount of energy.
With that amount of effort, it was crying out for someone to just put their foot on the ball to slow everything down.
The problem was, with such willing runners in the final third, it almost became a default to try to find them.
It was not until Soham, who had the better of the early exchanges, got the opening goal that there was an easing on the accelerator.
When that happened for City, it brought into play the craft and guile of Jarid Robson and the tenacity, determination and resilience of Luke Knight to dictate matters.
Soham had the first sight of goal through Alfie Connor, whose shot from distance was comfortable for City keeper Dan George.
The hosts went up the other end, and Soham shot-stopper Josh Pope held on to Ryan Sharman’s header.
The next chance broke the deadlock, in the 15th minute.
Jon Kaye’s 25-yard effort was saved by George, but he could not hold onto the shot and Kelly put away the rebound.
It was the catalyst for City to establish themselves on the game, and slow down proceedings.
A well-worked move put Robson into the area, and two great blocks by Soham defenders - which was a theme of the evening - denied the City midfielder.
Soham looked tough to break down, getting men behind the ball, being compact and leaving little space behind the back four.
It meant that something different was required to draw City level, and it came through Hitchcock.
A great delivery from the right by Robson saw Hitchcock - a dual registration signing from Bedford - take a step to lose his marker, and guide his back header into the far top corner for a debut goal.
There was a flashpoint though in the 40th minute.
An innocuous coming together on the byline led to a stramash of players, and the upshot amidst all the pushing and shoving were red cards for Soham’s Jake Andrews and City’s Isaac Maynard.
With both sides a man down, it was City that coped better in the second half.
For a long period it felt like they had an extra player but Soham’s resilience was still just as strong.
Johnny Herd, another new dual registration signing for City, had a 25-yard free kick superbly saved low to his left by Pope and although the territory and possession was dominated by the hosts, a lot of their attempts were off target.
Soham grew into the half, without really threatening the City goal.
In the 77th minute, Ingrey was put through in the area, but Pope did well to save with his feet at the angle and then a series of blocks smothered City out of the area.
Soham were not able to pose as much of an attacking threat, despite a flurry of corners around the 80th minute, but with the clock ticking down the game seemed destined to end in a draw.
However, a brilliant pass from halfway by Joe Burgess picked out substitute Ingrey.
He created space for himself between the centre-backs at the edge of the area, taking the ball out of his stride to fire a low shot into the bottom right corner, giving Pope no chance.
There was a late scare for City when a flighted ball into the six-yard box seemed to just need a touch, and Soham’s Toby Andrews did not get the right connection with his header as it went wide for a goal kick.
Given their second half, City deserved their first league win of the season, but Soham showed that they will be a tough nut to crack this season.
Cambridge City: George, Burgess, Herd, Knight, Gent, Wood, Robson, Maynard, Hitchcock, Sharman, Davis.
Substitutes: Hitchcock (Ingrey, 72), Gibbs (Robson, 84), Ofosu (Burgess, 90). Not used: Shaw, Rigby..
Soham Town Rangers: Pope, Walter, Kelly, Connor, Watson, Groves, J Andrews, Kaye, Mason, Rogers, T Andrews.
Substitutes: Carden (Mason, 57), Conway (Walter, 61), Auger (Connor, 73). Not used: Chaffey, Okay.
Referee: Oliver Morris-Sanders.
Bookings: City - Burgess (unsporting behaviour, 60), Sharman (booking, 83); Soham - Walter (unsporting behaviour, 42), Connor (foul, 50).
Red card: City - Maynard (42); Soham - J Andrews (42).