Early sub makes the dif­fer­ence for Derry

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Good­ing

SHAUN Derry agreed an early tac­ti­cal change paid div­i­dends as his Cam­bridge side beat Crawley Town to take their play-off bid to the fi­nal day of the sea­son.

The U’s ini­tially strug­gled to break down the vis­i­tors, prompt­ing Derry to in­tro­duce mus­cu­lar striker Gerry McDon­agh in the 27th minute.

His pres­ence in at­tack gave United a fo­cal point, and goals from Scott Whar­ton and Luke Berry mean the U’s are just one point out­side the top seven with a game to play.

“We had a prob­lem in mid­field, and I just felt push­ing an ex­tra body for­ward would give them more to deal with at the back,” said Derry af­ter­wards.

“We looked like a dif­fer­ent team after that, and the change worked out for the best.”

The U’s lost their first eight games of the cam­paign, but could still see their sea­son end in pro­mo­tion.

“It’s been an un­be­liev­able ef­fort from the boys after the start we had,” Derry added. “We know we’ve got to win our last game now and hope for a few ‘snook­ers’ else­where, but the last day of­ten throws up one or two sur­prises.”

In truth the match was a fairly mori­bund af­fair, and sprung into life when Crawley went close twice in four firsthalf min­utes.

Kaby Djalo saw a halfvol­ley from the edge of the area re­bound off the in­side of the post, then Cam­bridge keeper Will Norris made a fly­ing save to stop a pow­er­ful ef­fort from Jimmy Smith.

The break­through came in the 35th minute, when the dan­ger­ous Piero Min­goia de­liv­ered an in-swing­ing cor­ner that was guided in by Whar­ton.

Crawley were forced to sub­sti­tute in­jured keeper Glenn Mor­ris at half-time, and his re­place­ment Yusuf Mersin had lit­tle to do un­til he was beaten from the penalty spot by Berry in stop­page time.

The spot­kick was awarded for a clumsy tackle by Josh Payne on McDon­agh, which earned the Crawley mid­fielder a red card, although Reds boss Der­mot Drummy had no com­plaints about the de­ci­sion.

He said: “I thought we kept a good side at bay well, and cre­ated some chances in the first half, but we didn’t de­fend a cor­ner prop­erly and found our­selves 1-0 down.

“If the one that hit the post had gone in it would have given us con­fi­dence, but after that the crowd got be­hind them and drove them on.

“We still took the game to Cam­bridge, but we lacked qual­ity in the fi­nal third.”

STAR MAN PIERO MIN­GOIA Cam­bridge

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