Leeds United came from behind at half-time to book their place in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over Cambridge United at the Cambs Glass Stadium.
Garry Monk’s men looked in big danger of being the victim of another giantkilling when they played poorly in the opening half and trailed to an Uche Ikpeazu goal.
But two goals in seven second half minutes from Stuart Dallas and Alex Mowatt turned the tie on its head and clinched victory to earn a trip to Sutton United or AFC Wimbledon in the next round
Leeds boss Monk made eight changes to his starting line-up - predictably with an important league game against Derby on Friday - recalling Marco Silvestri in goal, Liam Cooper and Tyler Denton in defence, Matt Grimes, Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas and Alex Mowatt in midfield and Marcus Antonsson up front.
The much changed side almost made the perfect start when Mowatt played in Antonsson who was unlucky to see his chip hit the crossbar.
But Cambridge, who came into the game on the back of a run of six wins and a draw in their last seven matches, settled into their stride to cause the visiting defence some problems.
A defensive mistake allowed Ikpeazu to get a shot in, but Silvestri was equal to the task to keep the home striker out.
Luke Berry went close from a free-kick and the warnings were not heeded as Cambridge went ahead on 25 minutes through Ikpeazu, who slammed home the rebound after a free-kick was blocked.
Ikpeazu continued to trouble the visiting defence and more pressure followed with several set pieces only just survived by Leeds.
United did finally see a sight of goal towards the end of the half when Mowatt’s shot from distance was well saved by home keeper Will Norris.
From the resulting corner taken by Dallas, only a point blank block denied Cooper.
Lewie Coyle was brought on at right-back for the booked Gaetano Berardi at the start of the second half, but again it was Cambridge initially making the running with James Dunne bringing a fine save out of Silvestri.
Leeds then suddenly grabbed a grip on the game as Mowatt’s low shot was saved by Norris and within a minute they equalised.
Mowatt’s cross was met by the head of Dallas and he was credited with the goal although Antonsson aimed to get a touch on the ball on the way into the net.
It was 2-1 to Leeds seven minutes later when Dallas’s corner was headed by Pontus Jansson and Mowatt put the ball in for his first goal of the season.
Mowatt, who was having a hugely influential game on his first start since the EFL Cup tie against Norwich in October, came close to another goal as he did well to keep the ball in then got a shot in from a tough angle that was not far off target.
Leeds lost Cooper to injury, with Kyle Bartley coming on, and after huffing and puffing to no great effect Cambridge showed that they were still not out of it as Ikpeazu went close with a header from a home corner.
In the last minute of normal time Silvestri could only parry Piero Mingoia’s shot from distance and the ball fell to safety to the visitors’ relief.
Ikpeazu hit another shot over from outside the box and that was it, Leeds had survived their scare to go into the fourth round of the cup and an away game against either Sutton United or AFC Wimbledon.
Cambridge United 1
Leeds United 2
(Dallas 56, Mowatt 63)
Monday, January 9, 2017
Emirates FA Cup, round three
Cambridge: Norris, Taylor, Legge, Roberts, Adams, Mingoia, Dunne, Clark (Williamson 88), Newton (Dunk 66), Berry, Ikpeazu.
Leeds: Silvestri, Berardi (Coyle 45), Jansson, Cooper (Bartley 71), Denton, Phillips, Grimes, Mowatt, Dallas, Doukara (Roofe 58), Antonsson.
Referee: Craig Pawson.