Leon Legge's header sends Exeter City to defeat away at Cambridge United
A first-half header from Leon Legge was enough to give Cambridge United all three points in their home match against Exeter City.
The Grecians started the match brightly but fell behind when Legge headed home Piero Mingoia's free-kick midway through the first half. They then had strong penalty appeals turned down when Greg Taylor brought down Reuben Reid in the box. The home side also had Will Norris to thank for a clean sheet as the Cambridge shot stopper pulled off a number of good saves.
City boss Paul Tisdale made three changes to the starting line-up with Lloyd James, Troy Archibald-Henville and Joel Grant coming in for Ethan Ampadu, Jordan Tillson and David Wheeler.
The Grecians started the brighter of the two sides and had Cambridge United on the back foot in the opening minute as Reuben Reid slid in Joel Grant down the left side of the box, but Cambridge United’s Leon Legge got back in time to make a crucial sliding challenge.
Grant then had another sight at goal six minutes later when Ollie Watkins’ shot deflected into his path but he skied his first-time shot into the stands. Then on 12 minutes Ryan Harley had a good chance to set up Jake Taylor or Watkins but his pull back from the byline evaded both players in the six-yard box.
Uche Ipkeazu then hit back with a warning shot for Cambridge as the stocky striker managed to get his head on a Conor Newton cross but could only glance the effort off target.
Luke Berry, who was a constant nuisance throughout the first half, then flashed a free-kick into the side netting on 23 minutes before drawing another foul on the left side of the pitch that Cambridge managed to profit on to take the lead.
Former Accrington Stanley midfielder Piero Mingoia was the player to take the free-kick and he floated a great cross to the back post where Leon Legge rose above Pierce Sweeney to head an effort back across goal and into the top corner.
Berry then almost made it 2-0 as he latched on to a long kick up field from Will Norris in the City penalty area, but lifted his shot over Pym and the visitors’ crossbar.
The Grecians then hit back, forcing a succession of corners and forcing Norris into an outstanding stop through Grant’s header. They also had a good shout for a penalty turned down when Greg Taylor tangled with Reid in the area but referee Darren Deadman turned down the appeal and City were not able to get back on level terms as the side’s went into the half-time interval.
Tisdale made one change at the break, bringing on David Wheeler for Luke Croll and switching to a back three formation. However, it took City until just after the hour mark to register their first effort on target in the second half and that was a shot from Ryan Harley that was well blocked just inside the box by a Cambridge United defender.
Joel Grant and Ryan Harley then combined well to set up a shooting chance, but when Grant played the ball into Wheeler he had too many players around him on the edge of the six-yard box to find a clear path to goal. Moments later Reid glanced a headed chance just wide.
Lee Holmes then came on for Reuben Reid in the 67th minute and his first action of the game was to swing a cross into the box that caused confusion and ended up with a Grant shot being blocked by close range by the arm of a Cambridge United defender.
However, Ikpeazu then fired a warning shot back for Cambridge as he rolled his man on the edge of the box and hit an effort that was blocked behind for a corner.
Substitute Jack Stacey then created a chance as he floated a ball to the back post where Wheeler had peeled away from his man, but again he found Norris in good form and the Cambridge keeper got a strong hand to his header.
That proved to be City's last meaningful effort on target as Cambridge saw out the remaining minutes without further incident.
Cambridge United (4-4-2): Norris; Halliday, Legge, Taylor, Carroll; Mingoia, O’Neil (McGurk, 81), Newton (Dunne, 66), Elito (Dunk, 72); Berry, Ikpeazu. Subs: Gregory, Dunk, Wharton, Maris, Lewis.
Booked: O'Niel, Legge
Exeter City (4-4-2):Pym; Sweeney, Archibald-Henville (Wheeler, 45), Moore-Taylor, Croll; Grant, Taylor (Stacey, 58), James, Harley; Watkins, Reid (Holmes, 67). Subs not used: Olejnik, Tillson, McAlinden, Brown.
Booked: Archibald-Henville, Taylor, Croll
Attendance: 6,130 (534, away)