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11 January 2022 Venue Abbey Stadium Attendance

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Cambridge Utd vs Portsmouth

10 January 2022

Attentions turn to the Papa John's Trophy on Tuesday (11th Jan) following United's FA Cup success on Saturday...


Mark Bonner’s men sealed a historic 1-0 win over Newcastle United in the U’s previous outing on Saturday, with Joe Ironside scoring the game’s only goal in the 52nd minute after Harvey Knibbs’ strike was saved, only for the ball to fall to the striker, who on the turn, fired home to send the 5,000 raiders from Cambridgeshire into raptures at St. James’ Park.

Cambridge United form: WLLDW

Despite the Premier League outfit squandering multiple opportunities either side of the half-time whistle, no thanks to U’s ‘keeper Dimitar Mitov pulling off several impressive saves, Cambridge United were able to hold on, and in turn sealed a Fourth Round tie against Luton Town.

Attentions now turn to the Papa John’s Trophy, and a repeat of the lively Abbey Stadium clash against Portsmouth just over a week ago whereby – despite the game finishing goalless – both sides missed golden chances before Sam Smith’s dismissal midway through the second half.

The U’s sealed their Round of 16 place towards the back end of November after seeing off Walsall thanks to goals from Harvey Knibbs and Shilow Tracey. Tuesday’s visitors however, only learnt their feat in the competition on Friday night.

Portsmouth form: LDWDW

Exeter City can count themselves unlucky not to be facing off against the U’s on Tuesday night having led against Portsmouth up until the 89th minute, however, two goals within four minutes in stoppage time from Irishman Ronan Curtis saw Nicky Cowley’s side dramatically secure their spot in the Round of 16.

Prior to Pompey’s clash with United last week, Marcus Harness and Connor Ogilvie’s goals sealed all three points against Morecambe in the second week of December before COVID-19 halted Pompey’s December, with games against AFC Wimbledon and Exeter City all being postponed before Christmas as well as the Blues’ first two fixtures after the holiday fell to the same feat.

Marcus Harness.jpg

Key Player: Marcus Harness

The Burton Albion academy graduate, who made the switch to the South Coast in July 2019 has been Portsmouth’s main output down the right this campaign. The winger has been enjoying a purple patch throughout November and December, scoring five goals in his last eight games before COVID-19 interrupted Pompey’s festive schedule. The forward sparked what would be a feisty afternoon at the Abbey last week after controversially colliding with U’s right back George Williams.

Down Memory Lane

For the third time this season, United and Pompey go to battle, with memories of last week’s 0-0 draw as well as Cambridge United’s 2-1 victory over Portsmouth living fresh in fans’ minds, as Joe Ironside and Liam O’Neil’s goals either side of the half-time whistle secured the U’s first ever win over Portsmouth at a sunny Fratton Park in September.

Despite failing to beat the U’s in their last two outings, history will certainly be on Portsmouth’s side, with Mark Bonner’s side ending an incredible 43-year winless run over Portsmouth in September, with Cambridge United’s one and only other victory coming back in 1978, as Steve Fallon’s volley proved to be enough for the three points in front of 5,869 spectators at The Abbey. Since then, Pompey have won 14 of 18 encounters against The U’s.

Before this season, the most recent encounter between the two sides came in 2017, with Luke Berry’s late strike only proving to be a consolation as Portsmouth ran out 2-1 winners in front of 18,165 at Fratton Park en route to their eventual promotion as champions out of League Two.

Quick Quotes

U’s Assistant Head Coach Gary Waddock on preparing United’s squad for Portsmouth following their heroic display at St. James’ Park on Saturday: “Portsmouth are still relatively fresh in our minds. It was only last Monday we played each other, so it makes it a little easier planning for Tuesday evening. We do not know what their team will be, but we know their style of play.

“Obviously, everyone is on a massive high from the weekend, but we have to have our feet firmly on the ground. It was a great result for us, but we must look at the bigger picture going forward.

“We have got a big game on Tuesday and then against Lincoln in the league on Saturday, which is a massive game, so we have to put that to bed. The focus is now on Tuesday night.”


Ben Toner will head up Tuesday’s clash at the Abbey Stadium, alongside Stephen Brown and Lisa Rashid, who have been appointed as his assistants. Sam Purkiss will watch from the side-lines as fourth official.

How to Watch

The match kicks off at 7pm, with tickets available online, over the phone by calling 01223 566500 or by visiting the Abbey Stadium Ticket Office on Matchday.

Only the Main Stand will be open for this fixture, with tickets priced at £12 for Adults, £10 for Concessions and £1 for U18s.

If you can't make it to the game, stream the clash live on iFollow. Match Passes cost just £10 and are available to buy now. The simplest way to do so is by clicking here and selecting the Portsmouth fixture.

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Match Reports

Knibbs double puts U's through to quarter finals

11 January 2022

Cambridge United sparked cup jubilation once again as they dispatched Portsmouth 2-1 with a resolute Papa John’s Trophy performance at the Abbey Stadium...

A well-worked quickfire second-half brace from Harvey Knibbs helped put the U’s into the driving seat. A Michael Jacobs header handed Pompey a consolation at a testing time – but the hosts persevered to advance into the Quarter-Final stage for the first time since 2002/03.

Eager to inject fresh legs into the XI whilst maintaining the core at the same time, Mark Bonner rotated his side by making five changes to the monumental victory at Newcastle United three days later. Liam Bennett, Liam O’Neil, Wes Hoolahan, Jack Lankester and Sam Smith were all drafted back into the squad in the usual 4/2/3/1 formation.

With the sides just three wins from a Wembley final - the prospect of silverware was looming. On cloud nine, United had enjoyed an array of cup success this campaign and were looking for a clinical performance akin to their last outing against Walsall. Where Pompey were concerned, they’d clawed their way into the knockout stages after bouncing back from defeats to AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United by overpowering Crystal Palace U21’s. An enthralling 2-3 success over Exeter City on Friday night set up an intriguing battle between the familiar faces.

In an encouraging start from the U’s, they conjured up the first golden opportunity of the game on the 7th minute when an expert delivery from Hoolahan – making his first ever evening appearance in amber – floated towards Smith from the middle of the park who looped a header from 12 yards which was denied by the excellent reflexes of Alex Bass.

Three minutes later, the 2019 champions were prevented a breakthrough when, in typical Harrison Dunk fashion, the defender put his body on the line to block a fierce Ronan Curtis attempt after the Irish international was teed up by Mahlon Romeo.

Dimitar Mitov was called into action on the 15th minute when George Hirst was played in but his first touch on the cusp of the six-yard box was too heavy as the Bulgarian got down low to gather. The visitors grew into the game from here, seeing more of the ball in the final third and looking inventive, especially under Curtis.

In the last attempt of an otherwise lacklustre first period, Jubril Okedina engineered a well-worked piece of play which resulted in a ball on a plate for O’Neil who unleashed from 20 yards but was denied by a stern block.

United were celebrating the opener on the 50th minute after Knibbs received a pass from the edge of the area before picking his spot coolly arrowing a drilled attempt past Bass and into the bottom corner.

The U’s number 26 was at the double ten minutes later when Hoolahan’s exquisite cross from the outside of his boot sailed past a sea of defenders before landing on the head of Knibbs who placed home to increase their advantage.

Probing, the hosts looked like they’d killed the game off on the 73rd minute after a flurry of close-range attempts crafted by James Brophy. First, Harrison Dunk saw his effort saved before Lankester’s venomous shot was blocked and into the path of Knibbs who fired into the net but the striker’s attempt was swiftly ruled out for offside.

On their next foray forwards on 75, Pompey halved the deficit when substitute Lee Brown’s cross was headed home by Jacobs who had made an excellent run into the six-yard box.

Danny Cowley’s men came agonisingly close to grabbing the leveller on 85 when Jacobs’ ball was headed inches wide from John Marquis.

An astute block from Liam Bennett, who had had another impressive outing for United, prevented Brown’s piledriver in stoppage time. It proved the last opportunity of the encounter as their stubborn character was enough to see off sheer Pompey progression and secure their passage into the next round.

After back-to-back cup success, attention now turns back to the bread and butter that is League One on Saturday afternoon (15th January). Be sure to back the U’s as they travel to Sincil Bank to lock horns with Lincoln City.


Cambridge United: Mitov, Bennett, Okedina, Iredale, Dunk, May (Digby, 70), O’Neil (Worman, 45), Knibbs (Ironside, 81), Hoolahan (Brophy, 70), Lankester (Dickens, 89), Smith

Subs Not Used: Mannion

Goalscorers: Knibbs (50, 59)

Bookings: Lankester, Iredale


Portsmouth: Bass, Freeman, Robertson (Raggett, 45), Ogilvie, Romeo, Thompson (Tunnicliffe, 60), Morrell, Hackett (Harness, 60), Jacobs, Hirst (Brown, 60), Curtis (Marquis, 60)

Subs Not Used: Steward, Azeez

Goalscorers: Jacobs (75)



Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 1308 (283 away fans)


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