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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

20 September 2022 Venue Sixfields Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Cobblers vs U's

20 September 2022

Cambridge United look to get up and running in the Papa John’s Trophy as they travel to Northampton Town in the next Southern Group H fixture...

Both sides arrive on the back of disappointing defeats in their opening matches and ideally need to register the points at Sixfields should they wish to embark on a lengthy run in the competition.

How to Watch

The fixture in Northamptonshire gets under way at 7:00pm, with tickets available online at Adults can get theirs for £5, whereas Under 18’s cost just £1.

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

Opposition Focus

Since promotion to the third tier in 2016, the Cobblers have fluctuated between the divisions in dramatic circumstances, witnessing another promotion and suffering two relegations since then. Whilst we’re on the subject of drama, a mind-boggling, rip-roaring final day of action forced the side to another year in Sky Bet League Two. 99 times out of 100, promotion would have been theirs, and nobody would have said it wasn’t deserved. In what is arguably their strongest squad in years, Town are defensively well-drilled under Jon Brady and obtain matchwinners from all over the park.

Determined to gain promotion at the second time of asking, a really imposing introduction to the season has been pleasing. The division’s leading goalscorers sit in the automatic promotion spots and have found the back of the net three times already in their opening nine games. The only side to take maximum points from them are newly-relegated Doncaster Rovers. A professional 3-0 win at home to Rochdale last time out gave the side a third consecutive win – early signs indicate a promotion push is a real possibility.

With a core in inspired form, fans are certainly hopeful. Tyler Magloire is striking up a fierce partnership at the back alongside captain Jon Guthrie, who’s been a colossus since joining from Livingston – also scoring in back-to-back games and hitting the net 10 times in just over 60 appearances. At the other end of the pitch, Sam Hoskins has already reached double figures, that’s more than 10 other teams in the league have in total.

Understandably, changes are expected, with the likes of goalkeeper Jonny Maxted, Max Dyche, Ryan Haynes and Louis Appere likely to return. Defeat on Tuesday could ensure the Cobblers can no longer progress in the competition after a heavy 6-0 defeat at Ipswich Town last time out, but for a side who have escaped their group four times out of the previous five, they won’t go down without a fight.

Form Guide

Northampton Town: LLWWW

Cambridge United: WLWLL

United’s Approach

The U’s approach the match determined to end a two-game losing streak and return to winning ways heading into another ruthless schedule. Unable to take their first-half chances, United were punished by a professional Barnsley side who, with ten men, comfortably ran out victors.

Reflecting on the loss, Mark Bonner acknowledged: “I think probably from the second goal onwards, which came quite quickly after the red card, the game was fairly comfortable for them.”

It was the first time the group experienced back-to-back defeats in the league – the Papa John’s matchup allows those waiting in the ranks to potentially stake their claim just in time for Morecambe on Saturday afternoon.

“We hope to be better than we were last time (vs Arsenal),” said the Head Coach. Ultimately, it’s an excellent opportunity to give minutes to those who have lacked some in recent weeks, as he’ll need a full squad to choose from ahead of the coming weeks.

In what could be a similar XI to the one in the first Southern Group H game, the likes of Fejiri Okenabirhie, Saikou Janneh and Jack Lankester should return to the attacking ranks, whereas a freshen up of the backline looks likely, with Zeno Ibsen Rossi waiting in the shadows.

A make-or-break evening awaits. If the U’s are to replicate, or even better, last season’s mazy run to the Quarter-Finals, maximum points is most likely the minimum requirement.


Northampton Town Wins: 18

Cambridge United Wins: 15

Draws: 13

Down Memory Lane

A familiar battle, this will be the 13th time the sides have met since Cambridge returned to the Football League in 2014. Five of those have been cup clashes, whereas in the other seven the boys in amber have tasted defeat just the once.

Last time out, an imperious performance saw the U’s cruise to a 3-1 success in the FA Cup First Round Replay thanks to strikes from Harvey Knibbs, Sam Smith and Ben Worman. Before that, they were made to battle in the first meeting at Sixfields, coming from behind twice. They didn’t know it at the time, but it set them on their way to the most memorable of runs.

Speaking on that November evening, Bonner reflected: “Some good performances, it was an important result, and progress into the next round of the competition, which ultimately is what it’s all about.”

The Cobblers do have the bragging rights in this trophy. Pitting their wits in the same group for three successive seasons from 2017 onwards, they’ve won two of them with the shares being spoiled the other time.


Referee: Craig Hicks

Assistant Referee: Paul Evans

Assistant Referee: Jack Clench

Fourth Official: Scott Tallis

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Match Reports

Okenabirhie double seals victory for U's in Northampton

20 September 2022

Cambridge United got up and running in the Papa John’s Trophy with an authoritative 0-2 victory against a youthful Northampton Town side at Sixfields...

A professional performance from front to back, which improved as the game wore on, was rewarded mid-way through the second-half when a clinical, quickfire brace from Fejiri Okenabirhie, his first in a U’s shirt, ensured maximum points and a first victory on their travels this campaign.

Following convincing defeats in their opening clashes in the Group H Southern, it was very much a make-or-break evening for the local sides – going home empty-handed would all but secure their fate. Undoubtedly, the hosts maintained the momentum, heading into the encounter off the back of three consecutive wins, whereas the U’s had lost back-to-back league games for the first time in the season.

Understandably, both sides ringed the changes. Mark Bonner injected fresh legs to the fold as he made seven switches from the XI that suffered the 0-2 loss against Barnsley three days earlier. Liam O’Neil retained his place as he captained the group, as did mainstays George Williams and Lloyd Jones, whereas James Brophy dropped to a full-back role.

In a blistering start, the youthful Cobblers found the back of the net with just 3 minutes on the clock – fortunately for United, it was deemed offside after an interference with play. In what was a well-worked move between Josh Eppiah and Liam Cross, the latter twisted and turned inside the box before poking towards the far corner.

For the U’s first test of their opposite numbers’ resolve, they went a matter of millimetres away from taking the lead. Excellent desire from Saikou Janneh to win the ball back and whip in a delivery from the far right was meat and drink for Okenabirhie, whose header across goal fell to Jack Lankester who, from 10 yards, lashed at Jonny Maxted who tipped against the post before floating out of play.

On the 26th minute, United were scratching their heads, wondering how they hadn’t drawn first blood. Lankester, enjoying the freedom to roam, latched onto Joe Ironside’s header, cut in from the right and executed an exquisite through ball to the provider. After running past Maxted, the number 9 caught out Josh Tomlinson in the process, but pulled the trigger too late as it blazed past a sea of claret.

Enjoying stretching out the play from the wing instead of as a focal point, Okenabirhie danced past both Ben Fox and Harvey Lintott on 32, racing inside and striking a shot which was well-blocked. Although looking likeliest to break deadlock, to Town’s credit they remained composed.

On the brink of the whistle, Maxted was called into quickfire action to first prevent Ironside, who held the ball up well and shot towards the corner, before pawing away Janneh’s thunderous header from an accurate Williams cross.

All in all, the U’s entered the break in the ascendency, running the channels well and not giving the hosts a sniff ever since their disallowed goal – all that was missing was the opener.

Choosing to retain the ball in the opening minutes of the second period, no clear-cut chances were crafted until 54 when Okenabirhie was gifted down the left – he wriggled his way into the box, picked his spot and drilled at Maxted’s bottom left corner, creeping excruciatingly wide.

Moments after a triple substitution was rolled from the visiting bench, the third change in Adam May was handed a presentable chance from just inside the box, perfect territory for the distanced specialist, but he got his angles wrong as it crashed well wide of the crossbar.

The breakthrough, which was coming, finally arrived on the 68th minute when United’s pressure paid off. A dangerous May corner was flicked on by Jubril Okedina and then Lewis Simper, who handed it on a plate to Okenabirhie who lashed home from a matter of yards – a pleasing moment for the summer signing.

The number 20 needed to wait just eight minutes before he could celebrate another goal in light blue. Dancing down the left, Harvey Knibbs cut back to an unmarked Okenabirhie who curled an audacious finish into the far corner – the technique and precision left Maxted rooted to the spot.

Purring, substitute Sam Smith was unfortunate not to have helped himself to a double in and around the hour mark after first jinking into the box from a tight angle and being denied by Maxted, before lunging at Shilow Tracey’s rapid delivery but unable to knock it goalbound.

Nonetheless, the damage was done – the welcoming three points ensured the U’s approach their third and final clash of the Southern Group H against Ipswich Town with progression to play for.

Bonner’s men return to Sky Bet League One action on Saturday (24th September) when they make the mammoth journey to Lancashire to take on Morecambe - be sure to back the boys as they battle for the points.


Northampton Town: Maxted, Lintott (Smith-Howes, 73), Dyche, Tomlinson, Haynes, Cross, Abimbola, Fox (Hill, 45), Ngwa (Wyatt, 38), Connor (Lekuti, 73), Eppiah (O’Keeffe, 22)

Subs Not Used: Dadge


Bookings: Smith-Howes


Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams (Okedina, 60), Ibsen Rossi, Jones, Brophy, O’Neil (May, 60), Simper, Janneh (Tracey, 72), Lankester (Knibbs, 72), Okenabirhie, Ironside (Smith, 60)

Subs Not Used: Mitov, Digby

Goalscorers: Okenabirhie (68, 76)



Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 1230 (69 away fans)

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