Cambridge claimed victoryBen Phillips

A first half penalty from Nick Gallagher and a last-kick-of-the-game wonder strike from Sam Ernest ensured that the Light Blues first team gained all 3 points in their match against Coventry on Wednesday at Clare College Sports pitches.

Cambridge went into this game on the back of a defeat in their opening league fixture last week. Coventry, who as a side are newly promoted to the division, also hadn’t won in their opening four league games.

It was the opposition who started the brightest once the fixture got under way, following a delay due to the official not turning up. Coventry played some good football in the first 20 minutes and moved the ball around well.

Cambridge’s greatest chance came down to defender Oduma Adelio, who was unlucky not to put the home side up with a well-taken volley on 30 minutes, which Coventry Goalkeeper Mohammed Otuyo did well to hold onto.

Cambridge began to move the ball quickly and exploited the flanks to get the ball in behind the Coventry defence, working the ball into the opposition’s box. Shortly after, Luke Killen made a brilliant darting run into the box but was brought down by a Coventry defender who caught his boot when Luke went to take his shot: the stand-in referee awarded a penalty to the home side.

This decision proved controversial with the visiting side crowding the referee and appealing the decision. The delay in the spot kick being taken didn’t faze the Light Blues Captain Nick Gallagher, however, who calmly finished the penalty to put the home side up with not long until the break.

Cambridge's penalty seemed to change the game, and Coventry were unlucky not to score early on as they made a couple of unsuccessful attempts at the Cambridge goal once the second half began. They forced a great double save from Cambridge’s Goal Keeper who kept them out.

The game became very scrappy as both sides were subsequently determined to try and find an opening. Cambridge went on to have  good spells of possession and solid build-up play and dominated large periods of the second half, which saw the ball being moved around well in the oppositions. Cambridge maintained their position discipline and shape and battled well in the second period.

"Cambridge's penalty seemed to change the game"

Trying to spurn his team on for an equalizer late on in the match, Coventry’s Goal Keeper often flew out of the goal mouth to receive the ball and kick it deep into Cambridge’s half. But this proved to be of no effect and Cambridge’s defence dealt comfortably with the long ball tactic, with Ernest capitalising on this Coventry style of play in the 89th Minute when he received the ball within his own half: seeing the goalkeeper nowhere near his goal line, he dispatched a brilliant strike that found the net with the last kick of the game. Cambridge thus recorded their first home win of the season, at 2-0.

Commenting on this turn from their loss last week, Gallagher noted that the “tough test last week prepared the team well going into the Coventry game and that as a team Cambridge matched the opposition’s work rate and physicality”.

At times "we struggled to play our way into the game", he continued, "but as a team Cambridge had the better quality on the day that was needed to get the win".

Cambridge’s manager, Allan Cockram, said that he was “happy with the team’s performance”. Looking to the future, he noted that the home side “will focus on keeping shape and discipline to win games”.

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