U's win 2-1 as season appoaches.
The U’s have beaten Maldon & Tiptree in one of the two matches played on Saturday.
Another U’s eleven overcame Needham Market 3-0, but it seems that it was a tougher task at Maldon.
Daniel Pappoe opened the scoring for the U’s in the first half at the Wallace Binder stadium, before the hosts drew level through Leon McKenzie.
The equaliser came four minutes into the second half and it wasn’t until the sixty seventh minute that the U’s regained the lead.
Freddie Sears, by far the most dangerous of the U’s forwards in the second half, hit a beauty past the home keeper to give the U’s the 2-1 victory.
The idea of getting ninety minutes for a host of players was successful, with Brian Wilson and Craig Eastmond both lasting the distance having missed chunks of pre-season.
Sanchez Watt wasn’t so lucky, getting caught by a robust challenge and having to be replaced.
It looked more of an impact challenge so hopefully, the substitution was just a cautionary one. The first ten minutes saw the U’s finding it hard to cope with a difficult playing surface, with only half chances created at either end.
Sammy Szmodics overhit a through ball to Freddie Sears, before a corner should have resulted in a goalbound effort but the chance was missed.
Both Watt and Eastmond then had shots saved, the second of which led the corner that produced the first U’s goal.
The corner was cleared to Kem Izzet on the edge of the penalty area, he played it back in and Daniel Pappoe applied the finish with a low snapshot into the bottom corner.
The U’s controlled things for much of the remainder of the half and chances came and went.
Watt had an effort pushed onto the post, Izzet drilled his effort inches wide and following the best move of the half, Ibehre shot over from a low cross into the six yard box.
In Ibehre’s defence, it looked like the ball hit a divot just before it reached him.
Ibehre shot wide from an angle before the half finished with Watt’s shot from distance pushed wide for a corner.
One down at the break, Maldon & Tiptree came out stronger in the second half and it only took them four minutes to level things up.
A free kick from inside their own half was taken quickly and the long ball caught the U’s defence napping and Leon McKenzie prodded it past the on rushing Cousins to make it 1-1.
The U’s responded well though, with Wilson volleying over and Eastmond just wide in the few minutes following the conceded goal.
They had to soak up a few minutes of Maldon & Tiptree pressure on the hour mark but Cousins wasn’t really troubled and it didn’t take the U’s long to regain their superiority.
On sixty six minutes, Sears hit the woodwork from a clever flick at the far post as a corner found its way to him.
He wasn’t to be denied seconds later though, as his run ended with a rasping finish that gave the U’s a 2-1 lead.
The former West Ham trainee was smelling blood now and curled a great effort with the outside of his foot just wide and then forced the keeper into a great save.
Between these two efforts, Watt was caught by a tackle and was holding is shin as he received treatment.
No chances were taken with the new signing, and he was immediately replaced by Ryan Melaugh.
The most fluent move of the game, involving Melaugh, Sears, Pappoe and Wilson ended with the U’s right back finding Ibehre, who was denied by another decent save from the home keeper.
Sears was replaced by Freddie Ladapo and Szmodics by Nnamdi Nwachuku in the final ten minutes, as the U’s looked to extend their lead.
Melaugh’s shot wide after a short corner on eighty one minutes proved to be the last opening, with the final whistle going with the U’s 2-1 to the good.
With only seven days until League One starts, it was an important ninety minutes of action for a good few of the U’s players.
With another U’s eleven winning at Needham, manager Joe Dunne should have plenty of competition for the eleven places up for grabs against Gillingham next weekend.
U's: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Pappoe, Dickson, Izzet, Eastmond, Szmodics (Nwachuku 85), Sears (Ladapo 83), Watt (Melaugh 73), Ibehre