With Feeney on international duty, we started with Hayter and Supa up front, Stock back in midfield and, thankfully, Carl Fletcher back in central defence after injury. The hosts started the brighter of the two teams, but we gradually established some degree of control with Browning man-marking the prolific Kitson.
However, after just 11 minutes, the big ginger fellow gave our defenders the slip on the left (Purches seemed to be asleep) and flicked the ball just inside the far post from a narrow angle. It was either a very clever finish or a mis-hit cross. Whatever it was, it totally deceived Moss who possibly thought it was going wide. A very soft goal to give away.
We then began to reassert our control and pass the ball around, but were perhaps a little too intricate in the final third – nothing new there then! When we did put the U's defence under pressure, they looked brittle, but we still failed to create a clear-cut chance.
With the first half drawing to a close, we finally got some reward for our superior possession: O'Connor found Cummings on the left wing with a superb 40 yard pass, the Chelsea man took the ball deep into opposition territory before crossing for Big Fletch to calmly sweep the ball past Marshall. One of the best goals we've scored all season and cheered to the echo by the travelling contingent.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with the Cherries having most of the possession, looking the better footballing side (as they say) and generally controlling the game. A few half chances came and went: a clever flick from Supa set up O'Connor for a snap shot which he pulled wide, and the Big Man also created a chance for Hayter by getting on the end of a cross at the far post, but Hayter's effort went the wrong side of the same post. In fact Supa had one of his better games, laying the ball off accurately for his colleagues and winning nearly everything in the air.
Then with time running out, Cambridge mounted an attack which culminated in a shot from Guttridge being brilliantly saved by Moss. Unfortunately the Cherries' defence failed to clear the rebound despite having ample opportunity to do so and the ball came back to Guttridge who found the net with some ease. A real body blow, coming as it did against the run of play.
Wade Elliott had been introduced to replace the injured (and frankly ineffectual) Stock shortly before, and it was he who posed the only real attacking menace in the final minutes. Why was he only given 12 minutes to try and win the game, Mr. O'Driscoll? I know we all think we know better than the manager, but surely it would have made sense to give him 20 minutes at the very least. He's got a proven scoring record at Cambridge and they looked scared of his running!
We tried hard to get and equaliser in the dying moments of the game, but the ball wouldn't seem to drop for us. And this time the ref. didn't seem to want to provide us with a helping hand (or foot).
Very disappointing, as we played well and deserved something from the game. We just don't seem to get the breaks away from home. Some psychological barrier to overcome.
AFCB: Moss, Purches (Holmes 85), C Fletcher, Young, Buxton, Cummings, O’Connor, Stock (Elliott 78), Browning, Hayter, S Fletcher.
Subs not used: Stewart, Narada, Thomas
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey