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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

09 December 2023 Venue The Valley Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

Report: Charlton 2-2 Cambridge United

9 December 2023

Cambridge United showcased excellent spirit to come from behind at the death to salvage a 2-2 draw against Sky Bet League One opponents Charlton Athletic at the Valley…

Following an imposing first half, where the U’s took the game to their opponents, they couldn’t capitalise as quickfire strikes from talisman Alfie May and Chem Campbell gave the Addicks a healthy lead. Refusing to give in, Gassan Ahadme breathed life with a header before dispatching a calm penalty deep in the afternoon to claim a share of the spoils.

Optimism was in the air ahead of the start of a new era under the accomplished Neil Harris. United were hoping to translate their impressive cup form into the league by cancelling out three successive defeats, whereas the Addicks were on a four-match unbeaten run and possessed real individual quality.

Neil Harris’ first selection as United Head Coach saw him name two changes from the side that dispatched Fleetwood Town last time out, with Jordan Cousins and Ahadme returning to the XI.

Buoyed by an excellent atmosphere behind the goal, the U’s enjoyed a composed start before piling on the pressure and gaining momentum on the 10th minute with some quickfire front-footed opportunities.

First, James Brophy and Danny Andrew played a one-two down the left, allowing the former to pick out a cross towards a looming Ahadme, but the ball was crucially headed wide. Moments later, Sullay Kaikai teed up fellow wingman Brophy inside the area, who pulled the trigger from ten yards but the curler was put out for a corner.

With the positivity pulsating during every attack, Cousins fizzed an exceptional ball to Liam Bennett, who did well to win a corner which almost provided the opener on 22. Danny Andrew’s delivery floated to Ahadme, with the Moroccan darting a header towards goal which was scrambled away just before it passed the line. The hosts were unable to contend with the U’s in the air, who were enjoying freedom.

With 35 minutes on the clock, a clever run from Elias Kachunga saw him beat his man with pace before dancing towards the box but being brought down just before. Andrew’s delivery had too much power, nonetheless, evading every man in amber.

Down the opposite end, United had not been troubled as they continued to restrict the Addicks’ front three. The only moment to note arrived on the 43rd minute when May, who can make something out of nothing, curled well wide of Jack Stevens’ crossbar from just inside the area.

All in all, the visitors had frustrated Michael Appleton’s men and were knocking on the door throughout the opening half.

The Addicks undoubtedly returned from the break in the ascendency, with their aggressive nature and substitute working wonders as Daniel Kanu held the ball up and found an unmarked May, who stroked home the opener.

Just as United were looking to build up some steam, the lead was doubled on the hour mark when Corey-Blackett Taylor showed great feet to pass his man and float to Campbell in the six-yard box, who powered an emphatic header past Stevens.

Eyeing up an immediate consolation, Andrew showcased silky feet to weave past a trio of defenders, but a superb tackle by Michael Hector denied the attempt.

A speculative effort from 25 yards by George Dobson on the 75th minute sneaked its way past a sea of U’s defenders, but critically was claimed by Stevens’ strong stop.

With their paws up, United sprung into life with five minutes to go as Kachunga tested Maynard-Brewer with a ferocious attempt, before Andrew’s looping ball found substitute Jack Lankester at the back post, whose stab was put behind for a corner.  

The corner resulted in the goal as George Thomas delivered to Ahadme, who was found unmarked and headed into the net much to the delight of the visiting fans.

The U’s gave it their all during the eight minutes additional time and their endeavour paid off in the 95th minute when Lankester was fouled just inside the area, presenting Ahadme with the opportunity to send Maynard-Brewer the wrong way and spark euphoria in the away end.

Harris’ men looked the most likely to snatch victory in the dying embers, but it was an extremely valuable point, a foundation to build upon and the first sign that this side will not go down without a fight.

Up next, the U’s welcome play-off chasing Blackpool to the Abbey next weekend (16th December) – be sure to back the boys.


Charlton Athletic: Maynard-Brewer, T. Watson, Hector, Thomas, Edun, Dobson, Fraser, C. Campbell (Mbick, 86’), Rylah (Kanu, 46’), May (Elerewe, 90+2’), Blackett-Taylor (T. Campbell, 81’)

Subs Not Used: Walker, Asiimwe, L. Watson

Goalscorers: May (51’), Campbell (60’)



Cambridge United: Stevens, L. Bennett, Okedina, Morrison, Andrew, Cousins, Digby (Thomas, 68’), Kaikai (Gordon, 68’), Kachunga (May, 90+7’), Brophy (Lankester, 79’), Ahadme

Subs Not Used: Mannion, R. Bennett, Haunstrup

Goalscorers: Ahadme (86’), Ahadme (90+5’)



Referee: Thomas Kirk

Attendance: 13373 (1373 away fans)

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