Cambridge United 0-1 Stevenage: Norris strike denies U's early promotion party
Photo by Lewis Storey / Getty Images

Cambridge United were denied the opportunity to confirm their first promotion to League one in 18 years thanks to a narrow defeat against mid-table Stevenage

A second half goal from Luke Norris was enough to give Boro a deserved three points on what will go down as a frustrating afternoon for Mark Bonners’ team. 

Story of the match 

Cambridge came into the game knowing victory would secure their first promotion to the third tier since 2003 and made a promising start to the game with Luke Hannat coming close to giving them the lead when when he narrowly fired over from close range in just the sixth minute. 

Not long after, Stevenage ‘keeper Jamie Cumming's produced an impressive save to deny Hiram Boateng's powerful strike after the midfielder found himself in acres of space on the edge of the box with 14 minutes gone. 

United continued to enjoy a number of goal scoring opportunities in the games early stages with Wes Hoolahan being denied by Cummings after making a dangerous run from the deep, and Jack Iredale also seeing his long range effort sail just over the cross-bar shortly after.  

The visitors began to grow into the game as the first half progressed, however, coming close to taking the lead themselves in the 31st minute when Jack Smith played a quick one-two with Jack Aitchison on the edge of the box before being denied only by a great reflex save from Callum Burton

Alex Revel's team then again caused problems for the Cambridge defence just before half time when Hoolahan was dispossessed inside the penalty area before being saved only be an exceptional piece of defending from Declan Drysdale to clear the U's lines. 

The league leaders came out with notable attacking intent following the break though, coming close to scoring with the first real chance of the half when a Drysdale produced a powerful header from a corner in the 51st minute before seeing it well blocked on the line. 

It proved to be the away side however who would make the breakthrough when Luke Norris scrambled home after the ball fell into his path following what had been a superb reflex Burton to deny Elliott List just moments earlier. 

Cambridge attempted to claw back the deficit with manager Mark Bonner making a number of attacking changes in the games late stages, but they failed to create any clear cut chances, coming closest when sub Shilow Tracey found Adam May in space on the edge of the box before his shot was well blocked by the resilient Boro defence in the 83rd minute. 

The result sees United fall to second place in the league table but will still have a chance to confirm their promotion in their next outing against Harrogate Town on Friday. 

Stevenage on the other hand climb to 15th in the table and remain comfortably in the mid-table pack. 

Man of the match - Jamie Cumming

The Boro stopper undoubtedly kept his side in the game during what was a difficult opening period for his side.

The Chelsea loanee produced a number of key saves to deny Boateng, Hoolahan and Iredale and was influential in creating a big upset win for his team and deny Cambridge an early promotion party.