The Abbey Stadium hosts the second coming of Cambridge United and Curzon Ashton on Tuesday evening as both sides aim to book their place in the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup...
With a home tie against Grimsby Town awaiting the winners, Mark Bonner’s men will be hoping to put in an accomplished performance to get the job done, but the Nash, who sit 73 places below in the football pyramid, will be desperate to keep the U’s at bay once more and pull off a mighty shock.
How to Watch
Tuesday evening’s clash kicks off at 7:45pm. Supporters who wish to attend can buy their tickets for the match online at cufctickets.com or over the phone by calling 01223 566500. Please note, the Habbin is not open for this fixture. Adults can grab theirs for just £15, Concessions £10 and Under 18s for £5.
The match will not be broadcasted domestically. However, U’s fans who can’t make it can still receive minute-by-minute updates from the official Twitter account or listen to full live match commentary of the game on iFollow or via BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
Sixth-tier outfit Curzon Ashton have already kept out their League One counterparts once, but can they do it a second time and book their place in the Second Round of the prestigious competition for just the third time in their history?
Formed in 1963, the Nash’s rise over the past decade has been an applaudable and well-documented one – this has included back-to-back promotions, mazy cup runs and, most recently, stabilisation.
In a recent schedule battered by cup matchups, form has slightly dipped following a thoroughly impressive introduction to the season, where they were rewarded with one defeat in seven during August and September. Josh Hancock grabbed the decider in the visitors’ last victory - that came just shy of a month ago when Boston United were downed. A stalemate was earned against Peterborough Sports, before Hereford United picked up a 1-3 win at the Tameside Stadium. Since then, goalless draws were played out against ourselves and Leamington, with Brackley Town securing a last-gasp win on Saturday.
Curzon sit 19th in the National League North, but do retain a healthy lead from the drop and importantly boast a couple of games in hand over their rivals. Their current form makes for intriguing reading – although they’re winless in five, scoring just once in that time, they’ve recorded five clean sheets in seven across all competitions.
That defensive doggedness was evident in the reverse fixture, with goalkeeper Chris Renshaw pulling off some smart stops to keep the U’s at bay. A key figure between the sticks and undoubtedly one of the division’s best, his agility on the line will be key yet again.
Captain Craig Mahon has been a mainstay too, solidifying the defence and adding grit and a driving force when he’s pushed to midfield, the experienced man will relish his battles. Proven goal-getter Tom Peers will be hoping he's supplied with the chances at CB5, he’ll be confident he can put his name in FA Cup folklore thanks to an impressive start to his season.
Cambridge United: LWLDD
Curzon Ashton: DLDDL
United approach this encounter cautiously off the back of a 0-0 draw against play-off chasing Bolton Wanderers at the Abbey Stadium.
In a thoroughly improved performance, the hosts did everything right apart from finding the back of the net, predominantly due to some excellent stops from an inspired James Trafford. Importantly, they were creating the chances and were defensively sound, forcing Will Mannion to pull off very few saves.
Speaking after the game, the Head Coach said: “Clean sheets is the thing that will build us some stability to be in games and grind out some results, and the work ethic of the team was outstanding.”
Consecutive clean sheets is most definitely a foundation to build on. Harrison Dunk has added extra security since returning, whereas the partnership of Lloyd Jones and Jubril Okedina complimented each other well. On the contrary, no goals have been scored in three, firing blanks in seven of their last nine. Whilst they’ll be wary, United hope Tuesday offers them the chance to show a clinical, possibly even ruthless, edge.
Knowing a thing or two about giant killings, the U’s have been the underdogs many times – even proving victorious in many occasions. Now, with the tag flipped, they need to stay composed and navigate their way through an optimistic unit.
Regarding team selection for Tuesday, a similar threadbare squad is expected. Zeno Ibsen Rossi (hamstring) is the new addition to the injury list, who will be out for a month, whereas Bonner expects Sam Smith to be fine after limping off at full-time against Bolton.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Assistant Referee: Gareth Viccars
Assistant Referee: Daniel Cook
Fourth Official: Stephen Parkinson