Cambridge United posted a third straight win in all competitions with a scintillating 5-0 victory at Cheltenham Town…
After taking the lead through Smith’s 11th goal of the season, United scored early in the second half thanks to a Pollock own goal and proceeded to pour it on with Ironside scoring a hat-trick in the final 30 minutes of the game to help United to their biggest victory of the season.
Mark Bonner named two changes from Saturday's FA Cup victory at the Abbey Stadium with Jensen Weir and Sam Smith coming in for Wes Hoolahan and James Brophy.
The first chance of the game came to the hosts as Sercombe let fly from the edge of the box, only to be foiled by Mitov in-between the sticks.
It took United 15 minutes to pose a threat to the Cheltenham goal and two came at once with May denied by a Freestone block, before former Robin, Smith worked goalkeeper Flinders with a close-range effort that was well saved.
The Cheltenham fans thought they had scored on 25 minutes as Crowley narrowly missed the target with a well taken free-kick that struck the side-netting but that was as close as the home side came to troubling Mitov’s goal.
It was a feisty first half and two Cheltenham players picked up first half bookings within the space of a couple of minutes, as Freestone and then Wright were given cautions for objectionable challenges either side of the half hour mark.
The U’s were coming on strong towards the end of the half and midfield duo May and Weir both had Flinders scrambling with long-range efforts that narrowly missed the target, as the pressure began to build on the Robins defence.
On 37 minutes, United finally made it count as a lofted ball over the top from Tracey was raced onto by the in-form Smith, who finished in style, finding the bottom corner to give Cambridge the lead.
The rest of the half passed with little incident, aside from another heavy challenge from the home side which meant that Tracey was unable to continue, as the U’s headed for the dressing room a goal to the good.
Brophy replaced Tracey to start the second half and it took just seven minutes for the U’s to extend their lead. May’s superb lofted pass to the on-rushing Williams, who played the ball across the six-yard box for Ironside, which didn’t quite reach the striker, as Pollock turned the ball into his own net.
Soon after, May hit the crossbar with a thunderous effort from a tight angle that threatened to derail United’s march towards three points, but that was as close to scoring that the home team came throughout the remainder of the second half.
The U’s all-but secured the result on 62 minutes as Smith played in Ironside, whose powerful left-footed strike beat Flinders at his near-post to make it 3-0.
The rout was almost complete with 15 minutes to go, as Ironside grabbed his second of the game and his team’s fourth with a devastating header from May’s free-kick.
With the confidence of the team at an all-time high, Bonner’s men saved their best until last as Lankester’s zipped pass found the feet of Brophy, whose back-heel across goal put it on a plate for Ironside to get his hat-trick.
A memorable night for the U’s who will head back to Cambridgeshire in the highest of spirits ahead of Saturday’s trip to Charlton Athletic.