Blues Footballers Frustrated By Luton

Blues Footballers draw with University of Bedfordshire. Read more here.

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Cambridge 2 – 2 University of Bedfordshire (Luton)

The Blues spurned a glorious chance to go top of the table on Monday night, failing to kill off a poor Luton side despite dominating the game. 

On a battered and bruised Grange Road pitch, Cambridge struggled to play their trademark free-flowing, passing game but their performance still showed why the two sides lie at opposite ends of the table.

The Blues went into the game knowing a win would take them top, while Luton needed the points to escape the possibility of a relegation playoff and despite a bright start from the visitors the game quickly settled in to a predictable pattern.

Cambridge looked comfortable in possession putting some good passages of play together. On the other hand their opponents panicked on the ball, hoofing it clear to gift possession to their confident hosts who had scored 13 goals in the past 3 games.

The Luton front two were largely isolated, the few half-chances they had were well saved by Blues stopper Ferguson. Meanwhile their talismanic captain and Jesus/Jonathan Greening lookalike could hardly get his foot on the ball, with the best chances falling to the Cambridge strikers.

Baxter’s peach of a left foot presented Amos with a superb opportunity but he saw his shot brilliantly saved by the inspired Luton keeper, while skipper Johnson’s goal-bound rebound was headed clear.

The chances kept on coming as Hylands poked wide at full-stretch, while Amos, off-balance and under pressure, pulled his shot past the post, having taken the ball around the keeper.

Photos: Tim Sherrington

All the football was coming from the Blues. Luton were clinging on for dear life. The question was when, not if, the first goal was going to come.

However, when the deadlock was broken just minutes before half-time, it was the visitors who were celebrating. Completely against the run of play Luton broke at pace and, following a slick interchange on the edge of the box, their forward finished with a sweetly struck shot that went in off the post.

Looking to shore up defensively and seal a precious victory, Luton switched to a more defensive formation for the second half and chances were few and far between.

The Blues did have an early sniff at goal; Hartley firing a shot over the bar after excellent work form Hylands down the right wing.

Cambridge were beginning to look frustrated as the game became more scrappy on a pitch that was rapidly cutting up. However the equaliser eventually came mid-way through the second half as Captain Michael Johnson dinked a superb ball over the top for Baxter to meet, prodding home past the onrushing keeper.

The momentum shifted back towards the home side and, with Ferguson reduced to a freezing spectator, his side began to reassert themselves. Hartley and Amos both failed to hit the target when they should have at least tested the keeper, and a header from a corner was tipped over.

However the second goal was not long in coming. Hartley played in Johnson, who clinically slotted home to give his side the lead.

With Luton well off the pace for most of the second half, Cambridge should have closed out the game. However the visitors tore up the form book once again, as a seemingly innocuous long ball was brought down by their goal scorer who turned brilliantly and chipped the ball to the back post where the his team-mate’s glancing header found the back of the net.

There was more than a touch of controversy about the goal as centre-back James Day seemed to be the clear victim of blatant shirt-pulling and a push. Yet the goal stood and with just ten minutes remaining Cambridge were running out of time to find a winner.

After some silky skills from the most unlikely source, centre-back Gwyther crossed to the far post where the header was unbelievably tipped onto the bar. It was a truly stunning reflex save and enough to secure the visitors the draw.

Luton are still the only side to breach the Cambridge defence, being responsible for all four goals the Blues have conceded in the league, and again undeservedly leave with a point.

The result leaves the Blues two points behind the league leaders, Bedford, and with just four games remaining the title race is set to go down to the wire.

For The Tab’s photos from the game, click here.

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