19.08.23 Cambridge MR

Rovers' unbeaten start to the season ended with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Cambridge United.

Two second-half goals from the hosts, with the killer goal in the dying seconds, saw the Gas' best start to a season since 2007 come to an end.

Rovers made a solitary change from the side that triumphed 2-1 at The Valley in midweek, with Finley replacing Sinclair, and reclaiming the captain's armband from Marquis.

New signings Harvey Vale and Lamare Bogarde had a place on the bench, alongside Tuesday's last-gasp matchwinner Luke McCormick. 

Rovers began on the front foot and enjoyed some early spells of possession, without threatening the home side's goal. 

The game's first incident of note came after 13 minutes, when Connor Taylor was shown a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident. Cambridge grew into the game and fashioned a half-chance after 19 minutes, but Taylor did well to block Lankester as he advanced into the box.

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John Marquis almost capitalised on a mix-up in the U's defence two minutes later, but the angle defeated him and his pull-back from the byline couldn't find a Rovers' shirt.

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Taylor and Ward were both finding themselves on the wrong end of referee Busby's whistle as Rovers struggled to find any of the fluency that had characterised the previous games this season. 

As the half drew to a close with neither side able to claim superiority, Evans was shown the game's second yellow card for a late tackle.

The second half began with an immediate corner for Cambridge as the home side raced out of the blocks. Bennett then flashed a shot wide but Rovers managed to quell the danger and, through the midfield efforts of Finley, began to get back into the game. 

Collins had the best chance of the game in the 67th minute as he raced onto a through ball, but Stevens did well to smother. Rovers made a flurry of substitutions, with Collins, Marquis and Evans making way for Loft, Sinclair and McCormick.

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Cambridge opened the scoring through a substitute of their own as Okenabirhie curled home beyond Cox into his bottom left-hand corner.

Sinclair won a free-kick on the edge of the box but, as Rovers pushed for an equaliser, the home side caught them with a sucker punch as a three-man breakway ended with KaiKai tapping home with the game's final touch to make it 2-0.

CAMBRIDGE: Stevens, L Bennett, Andrew, Digby, Morrison, R Bennett, Brophy, Thomas, Lankester, Kachunga, Ahadme.

Subs: Holden, Okenabirhie, Dunk, Kaikai, Okadina, Rossi, Simper.

ROVERS: Cox, Hoole, Gordon (Vale 82), Taylor, Crama, Ward, Evans (Sinclair 59), Finley (c) (Bogarde 82), Collins (McCormick 70), Marquis (Loft 59), Thomas.

Subs: Hall, McCormick, Grant, Loft, Bogarde, Sinclair, Vale.

Referee: J. Busby

Attendance: 6,390 (811 Rovers)

Read Time: 3 mins