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Cambridge 0-3 Town
Cambridge 0-3 Town
Wednesday, 13th Jul 2005 22:48

Town's pre-season campaign got off to a winning start as goals from Nicky Forster and two from Dean Bowditch defeated Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium. As promised the Blues fielded a different side in each half of the game, the home side rotating a huge number of players throughout.

The more senior of the two Town sides took to the field in the first half of the testimonial for long-serving U's stadium manager Ian Darler. The Blues had much the better of the game, aside from an excellent double save from Lewis Price in the sixth minute.

Forster in particular was looking lively and made a fine run on the left, cutting in and crossing low for new strike partner Sam Parkin. The former Swindon man failed to get a decent touch but did manage to head the ball onto the top of the bar as the ball was sent back in from the right.

Skipper Jim Magilton had a shot saved, before Forster shot into the sidenetting. Parkin flicked a header across the face of goal from a Magilton corner and then Richard Naylor shot over after a subsequent set piece.

A goal seemed only a matter of time and it finally came in the 24th minute. Darren Currie played in Forster and the ex-Reading striker lashed the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal in a Town shirt from the edge of the box.

Town continued to have the vast majority of the game and Lewis Price was given few opportunities to show his abilities. Parkin headed over and Magilton chipped just wide but the sides went in at the break with the Blues just the one goal up.

The Blues deserved to go in further ahead at half-time with the front pair looking dangerous and Darren Currie having sent in numerous crosses. Forster's pace appeared undiminished and the 31-year-old made a number of intelligent runs.

Parkin will probably think he should have scored but showed some neat touches, held the ball up well on a number of occasions and gave the home defence problems in the air. The duo showed signs of forming a decent partnership, albeit against a Cambridge side which changed constantly and was full of trialists.

At the break Town switched the senior players for a team mainly made up of last season's FA Youth Cup-winning U18 side plus Dean Bowditch, Jimmy Juan and Dean McDonald.

Like Price in the first half, Shane Supple had few chances to show he should be Town's regular keeper, making his only save from a 25 yard shot in the last 10 minutes.

Midfielder and Jason Dozzell double Liam Trotter came close to a goal in the opening minute of the half after fine work from Dean McDonald. Trotter's effort was slowed up by the keeper's hand and a defender cleared off the line.

The Blues might have had penalties in the 50th and 56th minutes when Bowditch and then Owen Garvan appeared to be fouled in the area but the referee was unimpressed.

Right midfielder Danny Haynes had a shot blocked shortly before a fine Town move involving McDonald and Bowditch ended with Trotter chipping the ball beyond the keeper but just over the bar.

Bowditch almost increased Town's lead in the 70th minute after Garvan played him through. However, the striker's touch took the ball out of play.

The England U19 international did get on the scoresheet four minutes later when he played Haynes through on goal. The keeper rushed out to stop his effort at the edge of the box, the ball falling to McDonald whose shot was blocked but only to Bowditch who smashed it into the empty net from 20 yards.

Full-back Sammy Moore shot into the sidenetting from a tight angle on 77 after good work from Bowditch. The break in play saw testimonial man Ian Darler come on as a short-lived sub, memorably clattering Moore after being beaten by the youngster by a corner flag.

Left-back James Krause played McDonald through as the game entered the final 10 minutes but the former Arsenal trainee shot wide. Soon after, Trotter hit an effort straight at the keeper.

With the final action of the match Dean Bowditch put Town three in front. The pacy and dangerous McDonald cut in from the left but failed to get in a shot, the ball running to Bowditch on the edge of the area, the striker curling the ball into the corner of the net. While the Town players celebrated, the referee blew his whistle.

McDonald's second half display up front alongside Bowditch was probably the most impressive performance, although the entire side passed the ball fluently and rarely looked in any trouble whatsoever against an understandably disjointed Cambridge side.

Bowditch and Forster will be given a boost by getting into the goals early on and despite the opposition's significant failings the Town management will feel the entire squad had a decent run-out and good start to the pre-season programme.

Town: Price (Supple 46), Wilnis (Moore 46), Richards (Krause 46), Horlock (Juan 46), Naylor (Casement 46), De Vos (Collins 46), Magilton (Garvan 46), Forster (Bowditch 46), Parkin (McDonald 46), Currie (Trotter 46), Westlake (Haynes 46 (Lordan 72)).

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