Donaldson levels for the U’s in 1-1 draw with Mansfield

Cambridge United extended their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two to four games following a 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town at the Abbey Stadium.

Ryan Donaldson’s deflected first half strike cancelled out Adam Chapman’s goal earlier in the clash for the Stags, ensuring Shaun Derry’s side clinched a point against their play-off chasing opponents.

Derry’s team selection remained unchanged from the side that beat Plymouth Argyle at Home Park a week earlier, with Jordan Slew taking up a place on the bench.

The U’s boss was forced into an early substitution when Cameron Gayle picked up a hamstring injury on 15 minutes, with Ryan Donaldson replacing the right back.

Both sides enjoyed spells of possession during the open 20 minutes, with Barry Corr and Ben Williamson coming close to forcing errors from formidable Mansfield keeper Brian Jenson that would have given United an advantage.

However, the Stags broke the deadlock when Adam Chapman’s 35 yard free kick skipped through all players in the 18 yard box and past Sam Beasant in the U’s goal on 23 minutes. 

United looked to have equalised within minutes of the opener, when Greg Taylor’s sweeping cross found Corr at the back post who cushioned a header down for Luke Berry to poke home, however the offside flag was up quickly against the 23-year old.

Ryan Ledson was the next to be denied the equaliser, when the Everton- loanee opened up his body inside the Mansfield 18-yard box before curling an effort towards the far left corner, which Jenson stretched well to push away from goal.

United persisted and were rewarded on 36 minutes, when substitute Donaldson drove in a central position from the right and struck a left footed shot which deflected off a Mansfield centre back into the back of the Stags’ net.

Williamson then twice had the opportunity to put the U’s ahead before the break, when Ledson picked out his runs in behind with two exquisite passes. However, the Gillingham loanee saw his first effort bounce off Jenson and was denied the chance to shoot on the second occasion by a last ditch tackle from Pearce.

Corr also came close when the U’s broke up field in added time at the end of the first half, but the Irishman stretched and directed an effort wide of the mark which meant the sides walked down the tunnel on level terms.

Much like the first, both teams stuttered into the second half with action in front of goal limited, the U’s looking the more likely to create an opening though. 

Leon Legge glanced a header off target on the hour mark from an in swinging Donaldson corner, which was as good a sight on goal as any.

And an acrobatic effort by Berry from 12 yards out with 15 minutes left to play which drifted over the bar, meant that the U’s were edging the chances on goal tally but were unable to drag themselves into the lead.

Sam Beasant saved well to secure a point for the U’s when Matt Green broke with pace for the visitors in search of a winner during the dying embers of the match.

Cambridge United: Beasant, Gayle (Donaldson, 15 mins), Legge, Roberts, Taylor, Berry, Ledson, Newton, Dunk, Corr, Williamson

Mansfield Town: Jenson, Rose, Pearce, Collins, Chapman, Clements, Green, Tafazolli, Blair (N.Thomas, 65 mins), Lambe, Adams

Attendance: 4,589 (297 away)

Vindis Man of the Match: Ryan Donaldson