United's unbeaten run ends in Bolton

Cambridge United fell to a first defeat since 18th December as Bolton Wanderers continued their own fine form...

Harvey Knibbs came closest for United as his first half header skimmed the crossbar, but in truth it was a tough evening for the U’s as the home team Whites played with confidence from the start and deserved their victory.

Goals from Bakayoko and Afolayan secured the points for Ian Evatt’s side as United turn their attentions to Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie at home to Luton Town.

Mark Bonner brought back Harvey Knibbs and Ben Worman to the starting XI, in place of Wes Hoolahan and Jack Lankester.

Following their 6-0 demolition of Sunderland at the weekend, the hosts were riding a wave of positivity and it showed within the opening minutes. Bakayoko and Fossey both went close for the home side after connecting with good deliveries into the United box.

The U’s responded through May, who had Cambridge’s first shot on goal - a sweeping strike from just outside the area that flew a couple of yards over the bar.

Charles should have put the Whites ahead on 13 minutes, as he forced Mitov into a fine stop from close range following Afolayan’s cut-back from the byline. He came close again six minutes later, volleying over the bar from just a few yards out.

Despite the early onslaught, it was United who came closest to scoring inside the opening quarter of the contest as Knibbs headed off the crossbar after connecting with Williams’ perfectly judged header across the box.

Bolton’s threat never subsided though as Cambridge struggled to deal with their switch of play and ball into the box. Fossey again came close on the half hour mark as he volleyed into the ground and just wide of the post from a tight angle.

The game twisted and turned as it approached the half as United saw two good opportunities go begging before Bolton took the lead. First, May again set his sights from outside the box but he dragged wide, before Smith headed just over the bar after a terrific Iredale cross.

A moment later, Bolton went ahead through Bakayoko after a typically well-worked move, which the U’s were finally punished with.

An injury to Iredale just in added time saw the U’s defender replaced by Sherring, as United went into the break a goal down.

The Whites started the second half much in the same manner as they started the first – on top and looking dangerous. Mitov denied Afolayan with a fine save on 50 minutes before strong appeals for a penalty were turned down as Fossey fell under the challenge of Dunk.

With an hour gone, United enjoyed one of their best spell of the contest as they penned the home team back and applied some substantial pressure, which ended with May firing wide for the third tie in the game.

Lorent Tolaj came on for his debut with 66 minutes played, as he replaced Harvey Knibbs, but the home side doubled their lead just three minutes later, as Afolayan pounced on a U’s mistake in possession to break with purpose and score Bolton’s second of the game.

Lankester came on for Worman as Mark Bonner looked to find a route back into the game, and Smith could have given his team just that on 74 minutes after a swift counter attack that led to the striker shooting on goal. Unfortunately for those in black, he couldn’t keep it under the bar.

Half chances came and went for both sides as the match came towards its conclusion, but the U’s know they will have better days ahead as the score ended 2-0.