Uche Ikpeazu secures Cambridge United victory over Stevenage
U's leave it late to grab win
Uche Ikpeazu headed a late winner as Cambridge United earned a 1-0 win over Stevenage at the Cambs Glass Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.
It seemed destined to finish goalless despite an end-to-end second half, but then Ikpeazu had the vital say in the 87th minute, heading home Jevani Brown’s cross.
It was a very passive first half, with both sides being quite cautious.
There seemed to be an intent from Stevenage to make themselves compact and as difficult to break down as possible, and that put the emphasis on the hosts.
And while the U’s had the majority of the possession, they were unable to create clear-cut chances.
Greg Taylor headed over the bar from a corner in the fourth minute, and then the returning Jabo Ibehre fired wide inside the box.
For the visitors, Tom Pett did well in the 18th minute and got the ball across the six-yard box but Alex Samuel’s shot went wide.
At the end of the half, Ibehre had a shot on the turn go wide and then for Stevenage, Danny Newton was falling back as he got an effort at the edge of the box, but it went over.
It was far more open in the second half, with Stevenage in the ascendancy in the early stages, Newton’s diving header going just wide inside the first minute.
It was the same player for the visitors that forced U’s keeper to palm away a 20-yard effort in the 50th minute, and then Leon Legge produced a good block to thwart Chris Whelpdale.
United’s first chance of the half came in the 58th minute, when Harrison Dunk burst down the left and dinked a cross in that Ibehre headed wide at the near post.
A minute later, Ikpeazu and Jevani Brown combined in the area to square the ball to an unmarked Paul Lewis who blazed over the bar.
Tom Pett worked his way to the edge of the United area, but then struck his effort wide.
But the best two chances of the game fell to United in the 71st minute.
Ikpeazu’s strong running saw him make it to the edge of the Stevenage box, and his curling effort was tipped round the post at full-stretch by keeper Jonathan Fryer.
And from the resulting corner, Legge had an effort cleared off the line by Newton.
Forde made two vital stops to keep the score even.
In the 80th minute, Whelpdale put two defenders to the ground before hitting a central shot that the U’s keeper had to do well to push over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Forde then made a crucial save to thwart Whelpdale’s header.
But the decisive moment came in the 87th minute.
A ball into the area was cleared back out to Brown, whose inswinging cross got the slightest of touches from the head of Ikpeazu to take it into the net.
And you could tell the importance of the delivery from Brown, as many of the U’s players went to congratulate the midfielder.
There was a scare when a ball zipped across the United six-yard box, but without a Stevenage touch it meant another clean sheet for the U’s and all three points.
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Legge, Taylor, Carroll, Mingoia, Lewis, Elito, Dunk, Ibehre, Ikpeazu.
Substitutes: Brown (Mingoia, 53), Maris (Lewis, 64), Amoo (Dunk, 78). Not used: Mitov, Taft, Osadebe, Davies.
Stevenage: Fryer, Henry, King, Wilkinson, Martin, Henry, Smith, Newton, McKee, Pett, Samuel.
Substitutes: Beautyman (Pett, 88). Not used: Day, Franks, Gorman, Conlon, Van Cooten, Wilmott.
Bookings: Cambridge United – Lewis (foul, 21), Dunk (foul, 76); Stevenage – Henry (foul, 30).
Referee: Brett Huxtable.