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14 February 2023 Venue Abbey Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Cambridge United vs Cheltenham Town

13 February 2023

Cambridge United look to kick start back-to-back matches at the Abbey Stadium with some important points towards their Sky Bet League One tally when they take on Cheltenham Town in midweek...

Mark Bonner’s men suffered their first defeat in three last time out, but the quick turnaround gives them the chance to soon put things right against the Robins - who similarly are yet to secure a league victory in 2023. As a result of that, Wade Elliott’s team are four points ahead of the U’s, so the meeting under the floodlights provides a great opportunity to bridge the gap.

How to Watch

Tuesday evening’s clash kicks off at 7:45pm, with tickets available for fans to buy online at With this being our designated ‘Kids for a Quid’ matchday, tickets are selling fast - particularly in the main stand - so please secure your place well in advance.

By doing this, you can save money as all prices increase by £2 when buying in-person on the day of the game.

Not able to attend? Both UK and international fans can stream the game with an iFollow Match Pass. Passes cost £10 and are available to purchase by clicking here.

Opposition Focus

Enjoying a similar trajectory to the U’s over the years, Cheltenham have ambitions to establish themselves as part of the furniture in the third division of English football following a history which has seen fluctuation throughout the pyramid. A non-league side as recently as 2016, the Robins were great value for their 2020/21 League Two title win and never looked like being dragged into a relegation scrap last season. Despite being in the midst of a demanding fixture list, Elliott will look to conclude his first year at the helm with safety and potentially even a trip to Wembley on top of that – the side have reached the semi-finals of the Papa John’s Trophy and just Plymouth Argyle stand in their way of a visit to the home of football.

Early fears of second season syndrome, following three successive defeats to Peterborough United, Barnsley and Portsmouth, soon dematerialised as Elliott’s men lost one of their next five – taking a point from Fleetwood Town and Port Vale, whilst beating Exeter City and the U’s. Since that September evening in Gloucestershire, the side are yet to find themselves back in the relegation zone. In spite of Accrington Stanley gaining victory straight after, they kickstarted streaky form by securing home victories against Shrewsbury Town and Bolton Wanderers, before losing three on the trot and shipping eight goals in the process. A vital five-match unbeaten run, which included four clean sheets, followed, but their 10 league encounters since has resulted in the solitary win. Now, the division’s lowest goalscorers are out to cancel their seven-match winless streak, rise from their 19th position and extend the two-point cushion from the drop.

Operating with the tried and trusted 3-4-1-2 formation, which has given them a plethora of success over the years, Town pride themselves on a gritty and committed defence. Between the sticks is the reliable Luke Southwood, who is enjoying a successful loan from Reading and is eyeing his 12th clean sheet. A team effort, he’s been aided by the experience of Charlie Raglan and Sean Long ahead of him, who are alongside rising star Caleb Taylor – the highly-rated young defender is thriving in his first taste of senior football. The influential Liam Sercombe was a big miss whilst out with an injury, his desire and energy in the middle of the park means he’s an excellent spine. Ryan Broom and former U Ryan Jackson look to supply ammunition from out wide to modern-day Robins legend Alfie May, who’s on 10 for the season, and exciting record signing Aidan Keena, plucked from Sligo Rovers following a devastating goalscoring season.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: LLDDL

Cheltenham Town: LLDLD

United’s Approach

Cambridge United are presented with the quickfire chance to bounce back three days on from a 2-0 defeat to play-off chasing Barnsley at Oakwell Stadium.

Despite spending almost 60 minutes of the game with 10 men, the Tykes, for the second time this season, overpowered the U’s thanks to strikes in each half from Max Watters and Jordan Williams.

Despite forcing attempts to find a way back in the game, notably when a Sam Smith header forced a smart reaction save from Harry Isted in what could have been the turning point, the visitors couldn’t make the most of their possession and break down the well-oiled hosts.

Reflecting on the defeat, Bonner conceded: “We never used the moments ourselves and lacked real composure at times and that was probably the story of us throughout the afternoon. There was lots of moments to have some control and bring some calmness and quality that we needed but we weren’t able to find that.”

Aiming to replicate the performance levels of the previous back-to-back draws, United’s next 11 matches sees them take on sides languishing from 10th to 21st, which could prove crucial going into the final weekend in May. Against the teams around them, and in a relentless period where their larger squad will all be needed, the U’s will first look to bridge their three-point gap and drag other rivals towards the dogfight in the process.

For a full update on team news ahead of the encounter, be sure to check out the Head Coach’s full pre-match press conference on our YouTube channel.


Cambridge United Wins: 7

Cheltenham Town Wins: 7

Draws: 5

Down Memory Lane

The last time we met, the Robins secured the points with a 2-1 in a mid-September evening at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

Going into the game, the U’s were at a season-high of 5th, whereas the Robins were in the relegation zone. The script was flipped, however, when strikes from Dan N’Lundulu and Alfie May cancelled out Adam May’s powerful opener.

Speaking on that night, Bonner admitted: “They (Cheltenham) ran really hard, they played with a real intensity – much better than us tonight and they deserved to win.”

It set the recent record against the Gloucestershire outfit to just the solitary win in eight – dating back almost five years. United’s last victory at the Abbey against Town proved to be a classic when they secured an exhilarating 4-3 success in April 2018 thanks to goals from Greg Taylor, George Maris, Jevani Brown and Barry Corr.


Referee: Andy Woolmer

Assistant Referee: Lee Venamore

Assistant Referee: Rob Smith

Fourth Official: David Rock

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Match Reports

Robins condemn U's to defeat

14 February 2023

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Cambridge United were consigned to back-to-back defeats in Sky Bet League One after Cheltenham Town recorded a 1-2 victory at the Abbey Stadium...

Although a penalty from Joe Ironside immediately cancelled out Elliot Bonds’ long-range stunner, the U’s couldn’t capitalise on any momentum as the tide turned in favour of the Robins, who grew as the game progressed and sealed the points through James Olayinka.

Following a first defeat in three last time out, which stretched their winless run to seven games, the quick turnaround gave the U’s the chance to put things right against their Gloucestershire opponents – who similarly were yet to secure a league victory in 2023. With Wade Elliott’s team four points ahead of the hosts, it was an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap and ascend up the division.

Following the defeat to Barnsley three days earlier, Mark Bonner opted with two changes to his starting XI. In an enforced change, Jack Lankester replaced Harvey Knibbs owing to an ankle injury, whereas James Brophy was restored to the left side of midfield for his 30th start of the season.

With the floodlights beaming down, the Robins carved out the first golden opportunity with three minutes on the clock when Charlie Brown picked his spot from under 25 yards and rattled the crossbar.

Biding their time to pick up steam, the U’s started to gain some momentum on the 15th minute when Jack Lankester’s teasing delivery was headed towards the corner of the six-yard box by Sam Smith, but a racing Lloyd Jones couldn’t get a boot to it despite endeavour.

Working their way into the encounter, the hosts started to enjoy more possession in the final third. Thanks to Michael Morrison’s killer pass, Liam Bennett was released down the right - who immediately drilled towards Ironside but excellent defending from Ryan Jackson forced a corner.

United’s talisman went agonisingly close to drawing first blood on 23 after a well-worked move from Paul Digby helped generate an opportunity for the industrious L. Bennett, picking out the number nine whose close-range header was denied by the reflexes of Luke Southwood. 

An intricate piece of play moments before half time almost paid its dividends when a neat flick from Ironside teed up Lankester from 12 yards, but the attacking midfielder could only poke towards Southwood who gathered the ball.

Following a quiet introduction to the second period, out of nowhere Bonds attempted the spectacular from 30 yards and succeeded, as his unstoppable attempt on the 57th minute arrowed into the far corner and over a helpless Dimitar Mitov.

Conjuring a rapid response, the U’s were awarded a penalty a matter of minutes later after Conor McGrandles was fouled by Sean Long. Up stepped Ironside, who made no mistake in the high-pressure situation, putting his foot through it and cooly dispatching with aplomb.

Now in the ascendency, United full-back L. Bennett embarked on a great dribble down the right on 65, before cutting inside and pulling the trigger which flew wide of Southwood’s right post.

The hosts were handed a brief scare on the 72nd minute when substitute Aidan Keena executed into the net after Mitov denied Alfie May’s attempt, but the linesman already had his flag up.

Capitalising on their momentum, Elliott’s side found themselves ahead for the second time five minutes later after Keena darted into the edge of the box and picked out Olayinka who stabbed home.

Keena’s unplayable cameo continued when, on the 81st minute, he struck from 15 yards but was denied by an important defensive header from Ryan Bennett.

It proved the last action of a frustrating evening for the U’s, who were condemned to back-to-back defeats to extend their winless run to eight games.

Up next, the U’s do battle on home soil again on Saturday afternoon (18th February) when they welcome Oxford United to CB5 – be sure to back the boys.


Cambridge United: Mitov, Morrison, R. Bennett, Jones, L. Bennett, Digby, McGrandles, Brophy, Lankester (Tracey, 79), Smith, Ironside

Subs Not Used: Mannion, Williams, Haunstrup, Okedina, Worman, Hoddle

Goalscorers: Ironside (60’)



Cheltenham Town: Southwood, Jackson, Long, Taylor, Raglan, Broom, Bonds, Sercombe, Perry (Olayinka, 69), Brown (Keena, 61), May (Norton, 90+2)

Subs Not Used: MacDonald, Baggott, Barkers, Sambu

Goalscorers: Bonds (57’), Olayinka (78’)

Bookings: Perry, May


Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 5018 (126 away fans)

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