Cambridge United struggled to contain marksman Ryan Bowman as the striker scored a hat-trick for Shrewsbury to help see off the U’s by a scoreline of 4-1…
In a game full of incident - which included the withdrawal of Dimitar Mitov due to a head injury and a red card for Adam May - it was the hosts who took the lead during the early goings before a super strike from Jack Iredale drew the team’s level at the midpoint of the first half.
Three further goals from the home side in the second half following the dismissal of Adam May meant for a miserable afternoon in Shropshire for United and their travelling fans.
Mark Bonner named two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, as Wes Hoolahan and Shilow Tracey were both recalled to the starting line-up.
The first chance of the game came to Salop’s Daniel Udoh, who headed over the bar from 6 yards out. Slow starts have been a theme for the U’s this season and once again, United fell behind early as Bowman rose highest at the back-post to head home and put the U’s on the back-foot.
Tracey blazed over on 11 minutes as United attempted to wrestle back control of the contest but the hosts continued their strong start as Mitov was needed just four minutes later to keep the score at 1-0, as he got down brilliantly well to deny Udoh a second.
Play kept breaking down for United in the final third with the team unable to string enough passes together close to the Salop goal, to really look like troubling the home side.
Mitov made another smart save on the half hour mark to keep Shrewsbury at bay but just a few minutes later, a heavy collision of the heads between the U’s goalkeeper and Daniel Udoh had the medical teams rushing out onto the pitch to give treatment.
After a substantial delay to proceedings as both were assessed, Udoh was able to continue whilst Mitov was forced off to be replaced by McKenzie-Lyle, making his first league appearance.
As the half drew to a close, Cambridge stepped up their game and took the initiative to the hosts, ending the period on top. Wes Hoolahan saw an appeal for a penalty turned down in added time before Tracey got to the by-line inside the box who just failed to pick out the lurking Ironside.
Despite the improvement in performance, Shrewsbury had the ball in the net deep into the seven minutes of added time, but much to the relief of the travelling Cambridge contingent, it was ruled out as Ebanks-Landell was adjudged to have handled the ball on its way in from a well-taken corner.
Both teams came out for the second half unchanged and it was the home side that started on the front-foot again, seeing a shot flash just wide of goal but McKenzie-Lyle had to be alert to beat away an on-target long range effort.
Whilst conceding early has been a theme for the U’s, so has scoring from behind and mounting comebacks and another looked to be on the cards on 58 minutes as Jack Iredale rifled in a thunderous strike from the edge of the box to bring United level.
All of a sudden, Mark Bonner’s side were looking full of confidence and hungry for more. Hoolahan came inches away from picking out Ironside inside the box, with the ball falling just the wrong side of the post, but a straight red card shown to Adam May in the 69th minute threatened to jeapordise United’s attempted comeback, as the midfield man was penalized in the strongest possible way for a challenge on Josh Daniels.
It didn’t take long for Shrewsbury to make their man-advantage count, as Bowman was put through on goal before finishing into the bottom corner to claim his second of the game.
Bowman wrapped up his hat-trick with less than 10 minutes to go, thanks to another expert finish from the striker, before a further goal from Luke Leahy on the stroke of 90 compounded the misery, as the U’s must pick themselves up for another away trip on Tuesday night, with the team travelling to Doncaster.