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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

29 February 2020 Venue Abbey Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Abbey Stadium next up for the Blues

We take a look ahead to the weekend game

27 February 2020

It's another trip down the A1 for the Blues this coming weekend as they head to Cambridge for their latest League Two fixture.

Mark BonnerThe Abbeymen parted company with Colin Calderwood at the end of January, after a run of five defeats in six games that month, and caretaker boss Mark Bonner immediately set about tightening things up at the back as he looked to put the brakes on what had been a dramatic plunge down the table.

And things couldn't have been more different as he took his team on a surge of four wins from four, a run which included two clean sheets and two impressive away victories.

Last Saturday brought another shut-out, with a battling 0-0 away dray at Home Park, and Cambridge head into Saturday looking for a result which will leave them unbeaten for the month of February.

Reading loanee Sam Smith remains as the club's top scorer so far this season, with eight to his name, and he is closely followed by Harvey Knibbs who has seven on his tally.

The February haul of 13 points has catapulted the club into the upper reaches of mid-table and the division's form team will be looking to do what they can to continue that momentum come the weekend.

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Chris Beech

Chris BeechSpeaking ahead of the game, Chris Beech said: "They're a team on the up. They drew 0-0 at Plymouth on Saturday and that's an excellent result for them.

"I read the interviews their manager gives and they’re talking about a back-to-basics type of football that they’re playing. Of course their lads are buying into it at the moment and they’ve had an upsurge in form.

"It’s going to be a real tough challenge but one I want to go to with good options, and I then want to put our plan in place and look to commit to it. I know I repeat this but there’s nothing more I want to do than win football matches.

"I know everybody says similar things, it’s what we want in this business whether we coach, manage, play, commentate, media, whatever it is.

"It’s what I want and I want that for the lads. I feel as though their efforts deserve extra plaudits, but they have to make sure they get the wins to back that up.

"Cambridge is a tough place to go to but we go there feeling confident. We're showing resilience and effort and energy, and if we keep that going I have no doubt the winning results will come."


Did You Know?

+ The club were originally known as Abbey United, before changing their name to Cambridge United upon turning professional in 1949.

Abbey Stadium

+ In 1984/85 equalled the record for the most defeats in a season - 33 - which was then surpassed by Derby County in 2008.

+ Cambridge have experimented with shirts of full amber in the past, but have always reverted to the traditional black and amber designs.


Head to Head

The clubs have met a total of 30 times in all competitions and honours couldn’t be more even if they tried. Nine wins to the Blues, eight wins to Cambridge and 14 draws … which way will it go this weekend?

  Carlisle wins Draws Cambridge wins
League 9 14 8
Total 9 14 8

The last coming together of these two sides was in November 2019 when the teams battled out a 0-0 draw here at Brunton Park.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Prior to that the teams met in March 2019 when United had to recover from conceding a very early goal. Jamie Devitt and Nathan Thomas put the Blues ahead before the break, but Jabo Ibehre came back to haunt us when he netted the equaliser in the second half.

We were at the Abbey in September 2018 for our first meeting with the U's that season, and the teams had some baking hot weather to contend with on what was a lovely late summer's afternoon. A good opening spell from the home side brought a goal for Jevani Brown, but United were back on terms just before the break when Richie Bennett looped a header into the back of the net. The Cumbrians had the better of the second half and they took the points when Ashley Nadesan bagged from close range.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

The 2017/18 season saw United edge in front courtesy of a neat finish from Reggie Lambe, when the sides met at the Abbey in August 17, but Medy Elito levelled from the spot just six minutes later. Carlisle kept going and Tom Parkes scored his first goal for the club, accompanied by a celebratory dab, to earn the visitors all three points.

Watch the highlights of that game here:

Cambridge came to Brunton Park in March 2018 to put things right but the deadlock in a tight game was broken by Richie Bennett when he scored from close range following a cut back from Mark Ellis just after the break. However, the celebrations had barely subsided when George Maris scored the point making equaliser just over 120 seconds later.

Watch the highlights of that game here:


Man in the middle:

BreakspearThe referee for this game is Mr Charles Breakspear. He has taken charge of 28 games so far this showing 123 yellow cards and 12 reds.

He was last in charge for one of our games when we went to Vale Park in January 2019. Rick Miller was sent off just before half time for the home side, and United made sure the advantage counted as Connor Simpson bagged a late winner. Hallam Hope and Tom Parkes were booked for the Blues. 

Before that he was our referee in January 2018 when we travelled to Stevenage for what turned out to be a closely fought affair. No goals were scored on the day, and Richie Bennett had his name taken for a rash challenge late in the game.

He was also our man in the middle for the Colchester away game in October 2017, earlier that same season. A Jamie Devitt goal just after half time was enough to seal the three points for the Blues. Danny Grainger and James Brown went in the book that afternoon.

Referee - Charles Breakspear
Assistant Referee 1 - Paul Yates
Assistant Referee 2 - David Hunt
Fourth Official - Garry Maskell


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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Cambridge 1 - 2 United

Report from the Saturday afternoon away game

29 February 2020

Two sides in good form came together at the Abbey Stadium as Cambridge, unbeaten thus far through February, went up against a Carlisle United team who had lost just one of their last eight league outings.

And Storm Jorge, the latest weather front to batter Britain, was defeated despite dumping a significant amount of water on the pitch in the hours leading up to kick off.

Head coach Chris Beech was forced to make one change to the starting eleven, with Harry McKirdy in for the injured Nathan Thomas, and Ryan Loft stepped onto the bench to plug the vacant gap.

United looked lively from the off, with the wind at their backs, and a crossfield pass from Anderton gave Patrick something to chase. His cross was blocked and hooked long and out of the box as the hosts cleared their lines.

A long throw from Alessandra then caused problems when Hayden trapped it and clipped it to McKirdy. He won a corner and he was involved again as the clearance from the delivery came his way. His volley whipped just past Alessandra as he tried to get a touch with his head.

The Abbeymen had half a sight when Carruthers took charge of a 23-yard free kick. He looked for runners, but it caught on a sudden gust of wind and Collin had to show good hands to pull it in.

The Cumbrians thought they'd done the trick on 12 minutes when a lobbed pass over the top brought a fantastic volley from Alessandra, who had pulled off his man at a tight angle. Burton could only parry, and it appeared to be set up for the late arriving Jon Mellish as he streaked into the area. A last-ditch tackle prevented a clean strike and the ball spooned off a toe and bent wickedly past the angle of post and bar.

Cambridge responded with an attack down the right flank which brought a cross from Lambe. Gethin Jones kept his eye on it and he did well to guide it over his own bar.

Excellent football followed from Carlisle, sparked by a run from Patrick which took him past two men on the halfway line. Mellish overlapped, but his first-time cross was cut out at the front stick before the supporting players could make an impact.

The hosts fashioned their first really testing move of the day on 20 minutes when Carruthers and Adeboyejo ran at the heart of the defence. The striker took over as it opened up in front of him but his attempt at finding the bottom corner made it easy for Collin to save.

Carlisle continued to look the more likely and a precise pass from Gethin Jones released McKirdy in the opposition final third. He dropped a shoulder, but his piledriver was blocked. Elliot Watt followed up with a rasping drive which Burton could only touch over the target.

The corner delivery from Watt was excellent, and the ball stuck inside the box as away shirts converged. Lewis Alessandra kept his cool before picking his spot to register his first goal for the club.

And the visitors almost doubled their lead moments later when Mike Jones ran from deep with the ball at his feet. They were suddenly inside the opposition area and Mellish was disappointed when he crunched a thunderous shot over the bar.

Patrick sent another drive wide as the away side continued to dominate, but there was a scramble inside the Carlisle box just before the break when Dunk popped a deep free kick into the box. A trio of blocks were needed as Lambe, Adeboyejo and Taylor tried to send it through bodies, and the mint shirts did well to guide it away.

Cambridge stayed forward, but teasing crosses were dealt with as United took their one-goal advantage into the break.

A superb block from Hayden with just five minutes on the second half clock kept his side in front as he matched Adeboyejo stride for stride. The forward thought he had half a yard until the challenge came in.

Quick thinking from Watt released McKirdy at the other end when he popped a free kick down the wing, but the cut back was sent behind by Taylor before it got into the box.

Watt was heavily involved in what was another good spell from the away side, but he was disappointed when he sent a 22-yard effort beyond the far post as Patrick rolled it into his path.

Mullin gave Collin work to do when he went for it as he spun on the ball 20-yards out. The keeper was well positioned to claim it. 

A free kick for a foul on Dunk gave Cambridge the chance to cross, but it was wasted as Carruthers had a rush of blood to the head with a blazed wild swing which rose high and wide.

Great footwork from Patrick earned him half a yard when United came again, and his cross had purpose until Taylor got his head in the way to take it away from Alessandra.

Carlisle deservedly doubled their lead when Hayden peeled away at the back post to nod a flighted free kick from McKirdy towards Webster. His volley was saved by Burton, but Anderton was on hand to sweep it into the net and celebrate in front of the sizeable away contingent.

Patrick then had a volley saved as the Cumbrians turned the screw, and Charters drilled a 20-yarder high when he found space.

Collin saved at the feet of Mullin as he broke through the back line, with the stopper keen to protect his clean sheet, but the hosts were back in it on 82 minutes when former-Blue Reggie Lambe stayed alert as an initial effort from Darling was saved by Collin. It eventually came out to the midfielder and the keeper could do nothing as it arrowed past him.

Cambridge threw men forward, and a free kick from Roles was a whisker away as it zipped past the post with home players throwing themselves at it.

Collin tipped another decent attempt over the bar in time added on, and the visitors had to deal with set pieces as the clock ticked slowly down, but they deservedly held onto their lead to claim a hard-earned three points.



Cambridge United - Lambe (82)

Carlisle United - Alessandra (27), Anderton (72)



Cambridge United - Roles (78)

Carlisle United - Hayden (59), Webster (63), McKirdy (80), Charters (89), Olomola (90)



Cambridge United - Burton (gk), Knoyle, Taylor (c), Maris, Dunk, Mullin, Darling, Davies (Roles 71), Adeboyejo (Dallas 71), Carruthers, El Mizouni (Lambe 14). Subs - Mitov (gk), Taft, Norville-Williams, Worman.

Carlisle United - Collin (gk)(c), G Jones, Webster, Hayden, Anderton, McKirdy (Bridge 88), M Jones, Watt (Charters 72), Mellish, Alessandra (Olomola 81), Patrick. Subs - Dewhurst (gk), Iredale, Loft, Hunt.


Match officials

Referee - Charles Breakspear
Assistant Referee 1 - Paul Yates
Assistant Referee 2 - David Hunt
Fourth Official - Garry Maskell


Attendance - 4,122 (339 away fans)

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