A second half strike from George Maris was enough to give Cambridge United all three points on Boxing Day, with a dominant display over Barnet at the Abbey Stadium.
Maris finished a superb U’s move on 61 minutes that had seen Jevani Brown dance through the Barnet defence to unlock the key moment of the match.
The U’s lined up with one change to the side that had taken a point away from Meadow Lane three days earlier, as Gary Deegan returned to his role in central midfield.
Ade Azeez was the first to test Barnet keeper Jamie Stephens when the striker was slipped through by Elito and rattled a shot against the legs of the Bees shot stopper. Greg Taylor too came close inside 15 minutes when the full back caught a half volley sweetly from 18 yards which fizzed fractions wide.
The visitors’ best opportunity of the game came through target man John Akinde who beat the U’s offside trap eight minutes before the break, but lifted his shot over the cross bar when attempting to lob David Forde one on one.
Azeez had one final chance in the first half when the pacey forward latched on to misplaced back pass from the Barnet defence, but could not beat substitute goalkeeper Craig Ross who had replaced Stephens midway through the half.
Dave Amoo replaced Azeez at half time and was immediately into the thick of the action, teeing up a great cross for Jevani Brown to head goalwards, but it struck Ross from point blank range who was able to keep hold of the ball.
However, the U’s continued to pressure the North London outfit and soon had their deserved advantage when Brown weaved past three would-be tacklers before sliding an excellently weighted pass through for Maris, who showed exemplary composure to slot the ball into the corner.
Despite several set piece opportunities for Barnet to level, it was United who always looked likely to register another during the remainder of the game.
Uche Ikpeazu spurned the best chance to double the lead when cutting on to his left foot inside the Bees’ area before hitting the side netting when perhaps a square pass to Amoo, who impressed throughout his time on the pitch, would have been a better option.
But the single goal proved to be more than enough for Shaun Derry’s side who complete their calendar year with a home clash against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Legge, Taft, Taylor, Brown, Elito, Deegan, Maris, Ikpeazu, Azeez (Amoo, 45 mins)
Barnet: Stephens (Ross, 34 mins), Brindley, Clough, Almeida- Santos, Watson (Coulthirst, 70 mins), Akinde, Campbell-Ryce, Taylor, Akinola, Fonguck, Blackman (Tutonda, 67 mins)
Attendance: 4,639 (229)
Vindis Man of the Match: Jevani Brown
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