Cambridge made a winning return to the Football League as Josh Coulson's strike was enough to beat Plymouth.

Adam Cunnington had already missed an early penalty after Carl McHugh had handled in the area.

The U's ended a nine-year exile from League Two with promotion last season and were celebrating again when Coulson converted Ryan Donaldson's corner.

Reuben Reid forced a scrambling save from U's keeper Chris Dunn but the home side comfortably held on.

Cambridge-born Coulson had never played a Football League game since making his U's debut seven years ago, and so it was fitting that it was the defender who popped up at the back post to score his side's first goal in League Two since April 2005.

It could have been a more straightforward afternoon had Luke McCormick not got down well to hold on to Cunnington's 10th-minute penalty.

But it was Argyle, with a new-look line-up containing five debutants, who controlled the pace in the first half, going close when McHugh nodded over from close range.

Despite Plymouth's possession, it was the U's who made the better chances, with Tom Bonner heading the ball into the ground and over the bar from close range, and Kwesi Appiah pulling a sharp save from McCormick in the second half, before Coulson's eventual winner.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (6)

Cambridge United

  • 01 Dunn
  • 04 Coulson
  • 02 Tait
  • 05 Bonner
  • 03 Taylor
  • 11 Dunk
  • 08 Champion
  • 07 Donaldson
  • 20 Diallo (Chadwick - 84' )
  • 21 Appiah (Sam-Yorke - 76' )
  • 09 Cunnington (Simpson - 45' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Norris
  • 14 Hunt
  • 15 Simpson
  • 16 Austin
  • 19 Sam-Yorke
  • 22 Chadwick
  • 25 Lennon

Plymouth Argyle

  • 23 McCormick
  • 16 McHugh
  • 02 Mellor
  • 29 Hartley
  • 05 Nelson
  • 06 Norburn (Blizzard - 74' )
  • 07 Alessandra (Thomas - 82' Booked )
  • 04 Cox
  • 08 Banton (Morgan - 70' )
  • 22 Smalley
  • 09 Reid

Substitutes

  • 01 Bittner
  • 03 Purrington
  • 10 Morgan
  • 11 Blizzard
  • 14 Harvey
  • 19 Thomas
  • 25 Bentley
Ref: Graham Scott
Att: 6,009

Match Stats

Shots

13 14

On target

4 5

Corners

6 10

Fouls

5 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Cambridge United 1, Plymouth Argyle 0.

90:00 +3:55 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Cambridge United 1, Plymouth Argyle 0.

90:00 +2:27

Foul by Delano Sam-Yorke (Cambridge United).

90:00 +1:52 Booking

Booking Nathan Thomas (Plymouth Argyle) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +1:35

Luke Chadwick (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:35

Foul by Nathan Thomas (Plymouth Argyle).

89:00

Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88:28

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Harrison Dunk.

83:37 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Luke Chadwick replaces Issaga Diallo because of an injury.

83:22

Tom Champion (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:22

Foul by Marvin Morgan (Plymouth Argyle).

82:00

Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:00

Foul by Marvin Morgan (Plymouth Argyle).

81:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Nathan Thomas replaces Lewis Alessandra.

79:15

Attempt missed. Greg Taylor (Cambridge United) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

77:28

Foul by Robbie Simpson (Cambridge United).

77:28

Lee Cox (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

75:26 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Delano Sam-Yorke replaces Kwesi Appiah.

74:17

Attempt saved. Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

73:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Dominic Blizzard replaces Oliver Norburn.

73:18

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Richard Tait.

70:16

Attempt saved. Oliver Norburn (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

69:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Marvin Morgan replaces Jason Banton.

69:15

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Greg Taylor.

68:16

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Peter Hartley.

65:51

Foul by Robbie Simpson (Cambridge United).

65:51

Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

64:21

Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

64:21

Foul by Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle).

63:37

Attempt missed. Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

62:50

Attempt blocked. Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

60:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Cambridge United 1, Plymouth Argyle 0. Josh Coulson (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Ryan Donaldson.

60:33

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Luke McCormick.

60:00

Attempt saved. Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

57:18

Attempt saved. Lee Cox (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

56:46

Attempt blocked. Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

53:49

Attempt missed. Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

53:11

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Luke McCormick.

52:57

Attempt saved. Richard Tait (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

49:48

Attempt blocked. Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

46:11

Attempt missed. Issaga Diallo (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

45:31

Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:31

Foul by Curtis Nelson (Plymouth Argyle).

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Robbie Simpson replaces Adam Cunnington.

45:00

Second Half begins Cambridge United 0, Plymouth Argyle 0.

45:00 +3:49 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Cambridge United 0, Plymouth Argyle 0.

45:00 +3:02

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Josh Coulson.

45:00 +2:31

Foul by Issaga Diallo (Cambridge United).

45:00 +2:31

Lee Cox (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00 +1:40

Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:00 +1:40

Foul by Jason Banton (Plymouth Argyle).

45:00 +0:59

Attempt saved. Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

45:00 +0:29

Attempt saved. Lewis Alessandra (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

43:06

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Kelvin Mellor.

40:33

Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:29

Foul by Lee Cox (Plymouth Argyle).

39:42

Foul by Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United).

39:42

Oliver Norburn (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

38:35

Issaga Diallo (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

38:35

Foul by Oliver Norburn (Plymouth Argyle).

37:35

Attempt missed. Lewis Alessandra (Plymouth Argyle) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

35:11

Attempt missed. Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

32:54

Attempt missed. Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

32:26

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Luke McCormick.

27:37

Attempt missed. Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

26:47

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Greg Taylor.

26:25

Attempt blocked. Lee Cox (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

25:19

Attempt blocked. Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

24:49

Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:49

Foul by Deane Smalley (Plymouth Argyle).

23:53

Attempt blocked. Deane Smalley (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

21:12

Attempt missed. Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

17:36

Attempt blocked. Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

16:49

Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

16:49

Foul by Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle).

15:16

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Curtis Nelson.

12:08

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Josh Coulson.

11:07

Penalty saved! Adam Cunnington (Cambridge United) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

10:48

Penalty conceded by Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

7:19

Attempt missed. Curtis Nelson (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

6:43

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Greg Taylor.

5:57

Attempt missed. Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

3:10

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Josh Coulson.

2:49

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Harrison Dunk.

1:47

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Josh Coulson.

0:26

Foul by Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle).

0:26

Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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