U's finish all square at Ebbsfleet
A THREADBARE Cambridge United side picked up a point in a hard-fought match at Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night. The Trade Recruitment Stadium is fast beginning to resemble Addenbrooke s Hospital, with Dan Gleeson and Felino Jardim the latest players to join an
A THREADBARE Cambridge United side picked up a point in a hard-fought match at Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night.
The Trade Recruitment Stadium is fast beginning to resemble Addenbrooke's Hospital, with Dan Gleeson and Felino Jardim the latest players to join an ever-growing injury list.
Because of this Gary Brabin was forced to field a team sporting several teenagers, including Rory MacAuley, making his debut after being called up from the youth team.
For the most part MacAuley acquitted himself well against dangerous winger George Purcell, but blotted his copy-book in injury time with a two-footed lunge on Sacha Opinel for which he received a red card.
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One player Brabin will be hoping remains free of injury and suspension is Lee McEvilly, who scored his sixth goal of the season in first half injury time to give United the lead. Robbie Willmott's corner was flicked on at the near post by Phil Bolland, and McEvilly stole in to convert from close range.
Even without star striker John Akinde, sold to Bristol City on Monday for £140,000, Ebbsfleet are likely to be challenging for a play off spot this season, and their combination of direct football and tricky wing play caused United problems throughout.
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They equalised after half-time when Neil Barrett got through on the left, drew Danny Potter off his line before squaring for the unmarked Luke Moore to slide the ball into the net.
Both sides had chances to win it in the closing stages, with ex-United striker Michael Gash rattling the bar, while McEvilly and Mark Beesley drew saves from Fleet stopper Lance Cronin.
While United will look back on Tuesday's game as a point gained, Saturday's 2-2 draw at Weymouth was more a case of two dropped.
They cruised into a two goal half time lead thanks to a McEvilly free kick and Beesley's first goal of the season. But after Weymouth had Cameron Mawer sent off for a tackle on Jardim, the home side went for broke, and Chris McPhee pulled a goal back when he turned the ball in from close range. Worse was to follow for the U's when Michael Malcolm dashed past some static defenders to equalise. The match ended in controversy, when the officials failed to spot that Beesley's shot had been cleared from behind the line by the hand of ex-United midfielder Stephen Reed.
With Gleeson facing up to a month on the sidelines, and MacAuley beginning a three-game suspension after his sending off on Tuesday, Brabin faces a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's home match with Wrexham (3pm). With no other recognised right backs in the squad, centre-back Josh Coulson is likely to deputise.
Ben Farrell is also serving a ban after his sending off against Kettering, but Jardim may return to add some much needed experience to the side.