Re­lief for Dunne as U’s avoid a slip-up

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By Alis­tair Co­hen

CAM­BRIDGE United avoided a po­ten­tial ba­nana skin by edg­ing past Bas­ingstoke Town and in­terim boss Joe Dunne be­lieves his play­ers’ re­silience fol­low­ing a week from hell is a tes­ta­ment to their pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

Jeff Hughes nod­ded a 19th-minute win­ner but the hosts were made to work hard by a Bas­ingstoke side who sit bot­tom of the ta­ble two di­vi­sions be­low Cam­bridge.

It was a far cry from last year’s FA Cup ex­ploits for the U’s when they took Manch­ester United to a fourth-round re­play but af­ter man­ager Richard Money was sacked five days ago, Dunne was more con­cerned about get­ting the job done – in any fash­ion.

“The fo­cus of the tie was to get through and we have done that,” he said.“You call th­ese games ba­nana skins but the ab­so­lute min­i­mum we ex­pected was to win.

“How we got through we didn't re­ally mind and af­ter the week we have had – I think it was an un­be­liev­ably pro­fes­sional per­for­mance from the team.

“Over­all it could have been a lot eas­ier but at the end of the day we are one step closer to pos­si­bly com­plet­ing the kind of eu­phoric scenes we had here last year.

“We cre­ated some real clear cut chances but we just weren't clin­i­cal enough to put the fi­nal touch on it.”

The game started qui­etly be­fore Luke Berry bril­liantly weaved be­tween four Bas­ingstoke play­ers but fired just over the cross­bar.

The Foot­ball League side did take the lead on 19 min­utes as Harrison Dunk’s ex­cel­lent de­liv­ery was met with aplomb by mid­fielder Hughes, who headed into the far cor­ner.

The Cam­bridge dom­i­na­tion con­tin­ued af­ter the goal as Dragons keeper Aaron Howe de­nied Robbie Simp­son with a fine save but Bas­ingstoke, who last made the FA Cup sec­ond round back in 2006 fin­ished the half the stronger as Louis Soares clipped the cross­bar with a free-kick.

The im­pres­sive Soares con­tin­ued to look the most likely source of an equaliser as he fizzed a low shot just past the post.

But home sub­sti­tute Rory Gaffney’s first touch al­most brought a sec­ond goal as his vol­ley was well saved by Howe.

Liam En­ver-Marum’s 35-yard vol­ley beat Chris Dunn but clipped the post be­fore the striker had a goal dis­al­lowed and David Ray forced an ex­cel­lent Dunn save late on.

And Bas­ingstoke boss Ja­son Bris­tow is con­vinced their sec­ond-half dis­play war­ranted at least an­other chance.

“The first half hour we prob­a­bly showed them too much re­spect and al­lowed them to get a lot of crosses in the box, which we knew was their strength,” he said.

“The sec­ond half, I thought we were the bet­ter team. On the bal­ance of play, a re­play wouldn’t have been harsh.

“We could have nicked a draw and we could have nicked a win on an­other day.”


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