Cambridge United came out on the losing side of a hard-fought battle in South London on Saturday, as Charlton edged a 2-0 scoreline...
Conor Washington’s double settled the contest, which was feisty and often bad-tempered throughout, and it was only United’s touch in-front of goal which let them down during a game in which they created more than enough to come away with a positive result.
The U’s boss named just one change from Tuesday’s thumping victory as James Brophy came in to replace the injured Shilow Tracey.
With nearly 25,000 in attendance including 1,698 travelling members of the Yellow and Black Army, the atmosphere at the Valley was electric from the start.
Despite the energy inside the stadium it took 25 minutes for the first chance of the game and it came to Tuesday’s hat-trick hero, Joe Ironside.
After Brophy received the ball on the left hand side with plenty of grass to run into, the winger took it to his man before getting off a deflected shot which diverted into the path of Ironside, who could only head wide from a few yards out.
A couple of minutes later, fellow in-form striker Smith came the whisker of the post away from scoring, after chesting the ball down inside a congested area before striking just wide of the woodwork.
With their first shot in anger, the Addicks scored on the half hour mark. Conor Washington finding the bottom corner on the turn after receiving the ball with his back to goal.
Not long later, May and Ironside conspired to get in each other’s way after Williams had cut the ball back across the box and with the goal at their mercy, neither player could fashion the shot.
It summed up a frustrating end to the half for United who created enough chances to have found the net whilst restricting Charlton to very little at the other end.
By the 50th minute there were already seven cautions handed out with the contest often played on the fine line between spiky and spilling over. On 56 minutes it was eight, as Washington received a yellow card after giving Dunk a whack to the face.
The U’s had an appeal for a penalty turned down moments later, as Williams was bundled over in the box before May saw a shot on target saved with a well struck-effort that was matched by MacGillivray.
Sam Smith missed two golden opportunites to equalize on 68 minutes and then on 78 minutes, as May twice played him through on goal and one-on-one with the goalkeeper. MacGillivray was equal to the first attempt before Smith sent his second just wide of the post.
Then, Washington sealed it as the game approached the 90th minute, with another close range finish to put the game beyond doubt.