Cambridge United 1 Morecambe 3
It was a game which proceeded along form lines like clockwork, the slick Shrimps making it five wins out of the last six on their travels as Cambridge crashed to their sixth defeat this season in front of their home fans.
The main difference between the teams was demonstrated after an edgy opening quarter of an hour when Cambridge striker Michael Gash broke through only to shoot straight at goalkeeper Steve Drench.
From the kick out Morecambe worked the ball superbly down the left flank, Adriano Rigoglioso combining in a smooth 1-2 with Michael Twiss who conjured a brilliant goal. With the defence looking as though they were expecting the striker to cross from an awkward angle he lashed the ball high inside the near post.
Even though it came so early in the game the effect of the goal on the confidence of both sides was obvious, Morecambe taking a grip which they never lost as they went on to as good as wrap up the points midway through the second half.
Rigoglioso also played a vital part in the second goal in the 58th minute whipping in a centre from the left flank for Wayne Curtis to find the net with a header which surprised him as much as just about everyone else in the Abbey Stadium. It looked as though he was merely trying to help the ball across goal but it skidded off his head and flew high inside the far post.
Bad luck was all that Cambridge needed to add to their troubles as they tried in vain to force their way back into the game. But any hopes of a revival were snuffed out just six minutes later when Twiss scored his 10th goal of the season and probably his best.
The move was started by an excellent through ball by Craig Stanley to Dave Perkins who initially stepped on the ball but managed to feed it out wide where Twiss raced in and hit a screamer from 25 yards which flashed past the startled keeper.
Cambridge had an opportunity 10 minutes later to reduce the deficit but it was typical of their finishing when Danny Brown broke through in the centre but was unable to aim his lob high enough to prevent goalkeeper Steve Drench easily plucking the ball out of the air.
Cambridge did get on the scoreline but it was no kind of consolation when substitute Danny Carey-Bertram scored from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Fraser McLachlan was harshly judged to have fouled Michael Morrison giving Carey-Bertram the chance to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Apart from that however, Cambridge never looked like getting the ball past Drench as they failed to turn a reasonable amount of possession into clear chances.
By contrast Twiss might have had four goals himself before half time with a little more luck. A minute after his opening goal he broke through again to have a shot deflected inches past the post for a corner, then twice in the last five minutes of the half he gave a rattled defence more problems.
His 40th minute snap shot was pushed for a corner at full stretch by goalkeeper Paul Crichton, and seconds before the whistle despite being shadowed by a full back Twiss managed to turn and give himself the space to hit another shot which was only inches wide.
Cambridge boss Jimmy Quinn said he could not fault his team for effort but the quality was just not there in the attacking play to suggest that Cambridge can put together the kind of run they need to break away from the relegation dogfight.