Cambridge 2 Fleetwood 2: First Paddy Lane goal keeps Town on right road
Fleetwood struck back to draw 2-2 at Cambridge and extend their unbeaten run in League One to five matches.
James Hill’s second minute header, the first goal of his senior career, gave Simon Grayson’s side an ideal start to the game and, after Cambridge had hit back, Paddy Lane struck 14 minutes from time to also net for the first time in his career.
Callum Morton was a notable absentee when the line-ups were announced, the striker with five goals in his last three matches not being named anywhere in the matchday squad.
He was replaced by Ryan Edmondson, still seeking his first League One goal for the club, and Dan Batty returned to the subs' bench, having last appeared on August 21.
Max Clark retained his place in the starting 11, starting against the team where he gained his first experience of senior football during two loan spells from 2016.
The Cod Army could barely have hoped for a better start as they opened the scoring inside two minutes.
Danny Andrew, another Fleetwood man appearing against a former club, swung a corner from the right to England Under-20 international Hill, who nodded past goalkeeper Dimi Mitov from close range before celebrating in front of the away fans.
The home side looked to make an immediate response and Hill almost completed the rare feat of scoring at both ends with under four minutes on the clock as he diverted Tracey’s cross just wide of his own post.
Despite the early deficit Cambridge enjoyed most of the possession, and a surging run from Paul Digby ended with his chipped cross deceiving Alex Cairns and dropping just wide of the far post.
Just past the half hour U’s top scorer Joe Ironside also missed the target, nodding George Williams’ header wide in a congested penalty area, but 10 minutes before half-time Cambridge were level.
Moments after being booked, midfielder Digby won an important challenge and the ball ran to May, who drilled a terrific effort across Cairns from distance to make it 1-1.
It could have got worse for Fleetwood before the interval but Cairns produced an important save to push wide Jack Iredale’s freekick from even further out.
Ryan Edmondson was withdrawn at the break, with Joe Garner coming on to partner his namesake Ged Garner in the forward positions, but it was Cambridge who went ahead on 51 minutes.
Iredale produced a super run with the ball to carry the ball towards the left byeline and backed it up with a perfect cross for Tracey, who turned the ball beyond Cairns first time.
Ged Garner should have done better for Town just after the hour when he could only scuff straight at a defender when a cross fell invitingly for him in the box, but sub Lane made a key impact with the equaliser.
After patient build-up the ball was worked to Lane on the right, he cut inside and fired a fine finish into the far corner.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Okedina, Masterson, Iredale, Digby, O’Neil, May (Smith 83), Brophy, Tracey, Ironside. Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Dunk, Weir, Lankester, Knibbs, Worman.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Clarke, Andrew, Johnson, Biggins (Conn-Clarke 73), Rossiter, Clark (Lane 54), Camps, Gerard Garner, Edmondson (Joe Garner 46)
Subs not used: Crellin, Johnston, Matete, Batty.
Attendance 4,429 (110 away)
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