Vital victory for U's at Stevenage.
A second half double has given the U’s victory at Stevenage on a memorable afternoon in Hertfordshire.
The massive win lifted the U’s out of the relegation zone, and at the same time, left their hosts looking anxiously over their shoulders.
An end to end first half somehow ended goalless, with the U’s creating numerous chances with some attractive attacking play.
Sixteen minutes into the second period was all it took for Ibehre to open the scoring, heading home a Billy Clifford free kick.
Just over ten minutes later, he doubled the U’s lead, with a simple tap in from a low Gavin Massey cross.
Unsurprisingly, Joe Dunne stuck with the starting eleven from the victory against Yeovil.
There were changes on the bench though, with John White and David Wright amongst the seven subs.
Within seconds of the start, George Porter almost got on the end of a back pass but Chris Day was just quick enough to clear.
A minute in and the action moved to the other end but it was a weak shot straight into Sam Walker’s hands by Akins.
Magnus Okuonghae had the U’s first chance, on ten minutes, when he headed wide from a corner.
The home side then had a header of their own, Haber going over with his effort.
It was an end to end opening to the game, with Stevenage just about edging possession and territory, but the U’s were having more sights of goal.
Freddie Sears had two half chances, with one blocked and one wide, before Andy Bond’s effort from a short free kick was also blocked.
The best chance then fell to Tom Eastman, but he volleyed over after Magnus Okuonghae had headed back into the danger area from a Clifford corner.
Ibehre then headed onto the roof of the net from another corner from the on loan Chelsea midfielder.
As the game reached the half hour mark, the U’s were denied twice in the space of a few seconds.
George Porter’s effort was blocked on the goalline and then Ibehre’s follow up shot was superbly tipped away from Stevenage keeper Chris Day.
Sears then shot straight at Day, having been put in by a quick long throw from Porter.
At the other end, Sam Walker kept the score goalless with a fantastic reflex save, denying Anthony Grant from close range.
As half time approached, the two sides exchanged long range efforts, with Sears for the U’s and Tansey for the hosts both failing to test the opposition keeper.
After the end to end nature of the first half, it was a much more cagey start to the second, with neither side throwing men forward quite as much.
There wasn’t any action for either defence until the fifty sixth minute, as a Stevenage block had to be made to deny Massey.
Five minutes later and the Stevenage defence had no answer to Jabo Ibehre, who made it 1-0 to the U’s.
Dunne fouled Porter on the U’s right and that gave Billy Clifford another chance to put a set piece into the Stevenage area.
This one made it to Ibehre on the far post and the U’s hitman’s header beat Day to give the U’s the lead.
Stevenage’s centre forward Haber then had a half chance to equalise, but could only hit is shot into the side netting from a narrow angle.
On seventy minutes, Dunne made his first substitution, bringing on Clinton Morrison for the injured Freddie Sears.
Two minutes later, and it was 2-0 to the U’s.
It looked tight as to whether Massey was onside as he ran onto a through ball but the flag stayed down, allowing the U’s winger to continue.
He looked up and unselfishly squared to Ibehre, who applied the simple side foot finish to double the U’s lead.
With twelve minutes to go, Okuonghae had to be strong to deny Beleck, as the home sub tried to find a way through.
On eighty six minutes, John White came on for Massey, as U’s boss Dunne looked to protect the lead.
As the game went into injury time, Bradley Garmston got forward and only a good save by Day denied him a first U’s goal.
And the U’s comfortably held out during the four minutes additional time to gain the three points against a side that had now lost six games on the trot.
It was an important victory, taking the U’s out of the relegation zone with eleven matches remaining of the season.