Cambridge United 1-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 29th Aug 2020 14:49
Former Blue Paul Digby’s second-half goal saw Cambridge United to a 1-0 victory over Town in their final pre-season friendly at the Abbey Stadium. Digby tapped home a rebound in the 56th minute after Paul Mullin had hit the post.
Striker Oli Hawkins made his first appearance in a Town shirt, the former Portsmouth frontman having been training on his own prior to joining the Blues just under a fortnight ago.
New keeper David Cornell was in goal with Janoi Donacien at right-back, youngster Tommy Smith on the left and Luke Woolfenden and James Wilson, making his first appearance of pre-season after a calf injury, the centre-halves.
In midfield, Emyr Huws was joined by Brett McGavin and Jon Nolan with Jack Lankester and Alan Judge on the right and left respectively either side of Hawkins up front.
Striker James Norwood was on the bench having not previously been involved in any of the Blues’ friendlies. Armando Dobra, Idris El Mizouni and Corrie Ndaba were also among the subs.
Kane Vincent-Young, who has been suffering with a minor thigh problem, Cole Skuse, who would have started but for a minor niggle, Kayden Jackson and Myles Kenlock (thigh) were all absent having not featured against West Ham in midweek. Former Blue Digby started for Cambridge in their midfield.
Skuse, Vincent-Young, Kenlock, Jackson, skipper Luke Chambers, Teddy Bishop, Stephen Ward, Freddie Sears, Aaron Drinan, Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell, Toto Nsiala and Gwion Edwards, who picked up a groin problem against West Ham all watched from the stands.
Following a minute’s applause for Carol Looker, a long-time supporter and volunteer at Cambridge, the game got under way in steady rain and a breeze.
On six Hawkins made his height count as the Blues defended a number of corners in the sixth minute. From the third, Harry Darling headed over.
Three minutes later, Donacien blocked a Luke Hannant strike and the Blues were forced to defend another corner.
Town played themselves into bother in the 11th minute, Woolfenden’s ball to Smith following a throw-in falling short and Paul Mullin seizing on it, however, the U’s were unable to make anything of the opportunity.
The home side were having the better of the opening spell and but on 16 Huws saw a strike blocked. Four minutes later, Darling headed wide from another Cambridge corner.
The Blues were seeing more of the ball but without spending much time in the Cambridge final third. On 27, U’s skipper Greg Taylor reached a free-kick which had been sent in from the left but couldn’t divert it towards goal from a tight angle.
Cambridge had their best chance of the half in the 32nd minute following a long spell of Town possession which had ultimately gone nowhere. After the ball was lost, the home side broke quickly and Harvey Knibbs hit low across the face from the right but just in front of the sliding Liam O’Neil.
Town continued to see most of the ball but without creating an openng, while Cambridge didn’t threaten again until the 43rd minute when Knibbs saw a shot blocked.
A minute later, Nolan found Lankester in the area on the left. The academy product tried to trick his way into space to shoot but was eventually crowded out.
Moments later, the whistle ended a half in which the home side had been on top for the most part and had the best of the chances.
The Blues had struggled to get a foothold in the game with Cambridge having looked the more dangerous team in the early stages, winning a number of corners.
Town gradually started to get on top, passing the ball around at length at times but without creating anything until Lankester’s opportunity just before the break.
Cambridge keeper Dimi Mitov’s only involvement had been catching a couple of crosses in from the right.
The Blues had looked to use Hawkins’s aerial presence to get the ball forward quickly on one or two occasions but without too much success.
Town swapped Donacien and Hawkins for Ndaba and Norwood at the break. The young Irishman joined Woolfenden at the centre of the defence with Wilson going to right-back, while the striker took up his usual role up front.
With rain still falling steadily, the Blues began the half more brightly, playing the game further up the field.
On 50, Lankester sent in a corner from the right and Norwood met it with a stooping header which cannoned off the outside of Mitov’s left post.
The Blues had been the better side since the break but in the 56th minute they went behind.
Former Canary Wes Hoolahan cleared a Lankester corner from the right and Mullin broke quickly pacing past Smith, hardly the first time during pre-season Town have been caught on the counter-attack.
The former Morecambe man looked to have taken it too wide and his shot from the left hit the far post but ex-Blue Digby was on hand to slam in the rebound from six yards.
Dobra replaced McGavin on 64 with Judge moving into the centre with Cambridge coming thick and fast. Five minutes later, Idris El Mizouni, who was on loan with the U’s last season, replaced Nolan.
Town were seeing a lot of the ball but without going anywhere until Norwood was almost found by a ball through the middle, however Mitov was able to claim.
At the other end, Ndaba did well to take the ball off Andrew Dallas’s foot as the sub prepared to shoot when in space on the right of the area.
In the 74th minute Town switched keeper Cornell for Tomas Holy and Ben Folami for Lankester.
There was a scare for the Blues on 80 when Dickens hit a deflected shot across the face of the Town goal. From the resultant corner, Folami played the ball forward for Judge, who tried to catch Mitov off his line from halfway but shot well wide.
Town were showing little sign of being able to grab an equaliser with the League Two side pinning them back in their half of the field and appearing more likely to add a second.
On 85 El Mizouni shot wildly over, then Kyle Knoyle shot similarly too high for the home side.
Judge hit a shot from distance straight at Mitrov, which the keeper gathered at the second attempt as Norwood chased in after the loose ball. Just before the end, Wilson cleared a low Joe Ironside shot off the line.
Cambridge deserved their victory with the Blues only ever coming close to scoring via Norwood’s header against the post.
Having begun the second half brightly, they faded after conceding the goal. They subsequently had spells in control but without threatening, but also found themselves pegged back in their half for periods by a Cambridge side which made plenty of second-half substitutions.
Overall, a disappointing afternoon for the Blues, who would have been looking for a morale-boosting victory over League Two opposition ahead of next Saturday’s season opener against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup at Portman Road.
Cambridge: Mitov, Knoyle, Iredale (Dunk 62), Digby (Simper 73), Taylor (c), Darling (Digby 73), Hannant (Neal 81), O’Neil (Trialist 62), Mullin (Dallas 66), Hoolahan (Knowles 62), Knibbs (Ironside 66). Subs: Trialist, Bennett.
Town: Cornell (Holy 74), Donacien (Ndaba 46), Woolfenden, Wilson, Smith, Huws, McGavin (Dobra 64), Nolan (El Mizouni 69), Lankester (Folami 74), Hawkins (Norwood 46), Judge. Referee: Alan Dale.
Photo: Matchday Images
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