Cambridge United 3
A THREE goal blitz from newly crowned FA Trophy winners Cambridge United condemned Salisbury City to a first home defeat in Skrill Premier for 17 weeks.
There was no sign of a hangover from Sunday’s Wembley triumph as goals from Ryan Bird, Greg Taylor and Ryan Donaldson scotched Salisbury’s eight-match unbeaten run at home.
Home debutant Charlie Sheringham, on loan from League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon, kept the men in sky blue alert on a bitter evening, before Rob Sinclair drilled one towards Benjamin Siegrist.
Meanwhile, the visiting side didn’t create anything sinister, apart from Kevin Roberts’s speculative effort.
A flat start in the beginning phases didn’t get much better until the 37th minute when the fairly quiet visitors nearly sneaked in front. A cunning through ball sent Andy Pugh clear and his lob was heading into the corner of the net until Angus MacDonald rushed back to hoof clear.
But four minutes later, City were undone when Donaldson, who dummied full back Kevin Amankwaah on the left, crossed for Bird to simply tap in for a half time lead.
After the interval, strong running from Amankwaah let Sheringham in on goal but his effort fizzled wide.
That proved the turning point as Cambridge doubled their lead through Taylor’s super strike which Bittner, replacing the injured Will Puddy, couldn’t clear on 60 minutes.
And the play-off favourites found the killer third four minutes later. A scorching strike from Donaldson crashed in off the underside of the woodwork.
Sheringham, being watched by famous father Teddy from the terraces, drove a free kick towards goal then forced a fingertip save from Siegrist, but the points were already heading back to Cambridgeshire.
A lack of “consistency” is what Mikey Harris believes is contributing to his side’s winless run reaching the six-match marker.
“I thought for 30 minutes was the best football we played all season,” Harris reflected.
“We kept the ball well and got into good areas but the problem of late has been letting ourselves’ down in the final third.
“We went from completely controlling the game to losing our way massively and got punished by some good finishing.
“It was always going to be tough but I thought we had a good chance considering our great home form.
“We don’t seem to be able to find any consistency at the moment.” It’s a difficult period but it’s not what happens it’s how you react to what happens. We need to respond.”
Salisbury welcome Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday in a special Challenge 2000 match (3pm). Full feature in today’s sports pages.
Salisbury: Bittner, Amankwaah, Wilson (c), MacDonald (Lewis, 68), Clarke, S.Sinclair, R.Sinclair (Frear, 31), Kamdjo, Brett, Sheringham, White (Fitchett, 59).
Subs not used: McPhee, George.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (Torrington).
Half time: 0-1.