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01 January 2024 Venue Cledara Abbey Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Leyton Orient

31 December 2023

Cambridge United will be hoping it’s a winning start to 2024 as they welcome Leyton Orient to a bumper Abbey Stadium in their next Sky Bet League One fixture…

With an extra few days of rest behind them, the U’s are hunting a fourth successive win on home soil, which in turn would help them leap-frog the O’s in the third tier table.

How to Watch

Tickets for Monday afternoon’s encounter at CB5, which gets underway at 15:00pm, are now extremely scarce – with the Main Stand, Newmarket Road End and North Habbin all officially sold out.

Space is currently available in the South Habbin, but this too is expected to reach its capacity so secure your place online at cufctickets.com.

For all of the latest information regarding sales – and the possibility of returns – keep your notifications on for the Club’s Ticket Office Twitter account.

Unable to attend? Fans in either the UK or abroad can tune into the action by purchasing an iFollow Match Pass – passes cost £10 and can be snapped up by clicking here.

Opposition Focus

A unique piece of history, Leyton Orient were founded back in 1881 and have had to evolve numerous times throughout many obstacles. From the Clapton & District League in 1883 to the Football League in 1905, the O’s would remain a thoroughly competitive Division Two side for decades before peaking with a sole season in Division One in the early 1960s. Bad ownership forced the club out of the Football League for the first time in 2017, but they roared back at the second attempt and just last season stormed to the League Two table under the tutelage of Richie Wellens, who plots to consolidate.

Deploying his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the boss has put his trust in Middlesbrough loanee Solomon Brynn between the sticks, who looks extremely comfortable in this league. The same can be said about the back four, with Tom James and Jordan Brown either side of excellent central servers Dan Happe and Omar Beckles, who can cause havoc in either box. Vastly experienced 38-year-old Darren Pratley leads by example and combines well with Idris El Mizouni, who plays with a spring in his step. Theo Archibald and youngster Shaq Forde are regulars on the wing, with former Manchester United man Ethan Galbraith situated behind Cypriot Ruel Sotiriou – on six for the campaign – or Dan Agyei.

Needing time to build up steam, Orient opened the season by succumbing to three successive defeats – with a 0-4 thrashing against Portsmouth included in that. A positive stalemate at Blackpool was backed up by a first triumph in the reverse fixture between the sides, before fellow promoted outfit Stevenage comfortably tamed them 0-3. Form flipped from here as they registered four wins and four draws from their next nine – importantly against teams around them – to rise them up the division. A trio of draws in this run did coincide with the start of a seven-game winless run, but most recently they’ve picked up handy wins against Cheltenham Town and Charlton Athletic, before a stern goalless draw at home to Wycombe Wanderers last time out has hopefully given them impetus to kick on, with a mere four points separating them from the top ten.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: WDWWL

Leyton Orient: LWLWD

United’s Approach

The U’s were planned to have done battle with Stevenage to culminate 2023, but power failure meant a postponement and an extra few days rest for the squad.

Reflecting on the disappointing evening, Neil Harris stated: “There’s nothing we can do about it… It’s a shame for everybody but the right call… We have to accept it and move onto Monday.”

It’s as you were for the U’s, with their sole aim of bouncing back from a cruel Boxing Day defeat to Oxford United, where they were unable to build on an excellent first half – capped by Jordan Cousins’ goal – as the promotion-chasers fought back and snatched victory at the death.

A first defeat under the helm of Harris, but the goalscoring knack they’ve developed – 11 from five – and their scintillating home form will breed confidence. A different animal at CB5, they’ve won their previous three on the trot, with a total of six wins from seven an astute feat. A continuation of that would put them on the brink of the top-half of the table.

Head-to-Head

Cambridge United Wins: 21

Leyton Orient Wins: 15

Draws: 14

Down Memory Lane

Orient inflicted a second league defeat of the campaign for the high-flying U’s back in late August with a spirited 2-0 victory at Brisbane Road.

Piling pressure on from the get go, the hosts capitalised on a strong start through Forde – before finding a second during the torrential conditions in the second half thanks to Archibald’s finish to knock United off the summit of the table.

The recent head-to-head between the sides has been extremely even, with three wins apiece from the last six meetings – although stretching back the U’s have lost just one of the eight matches prior. With at least three goals scored in all of the past 12 games, it’s poised to be an entertaining afternoon where the hosts will hope for a similar result to the last matchup here in CB5, when a Boxing Day 2020 clash saw United take the points with a 2-1 comeback victory thanks to strikes from Wes Hoolahan and Paul Mullin.

Officials

Referee: Carl Brook

Assistant Referee: Declan Ford

Assistant Referee: Jonathan Block

Fourth Official: Ryan Head

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Match Reports

Report: Cambridge United 0-2 Leyton Orient

1 January 2024

Cambridge United tasted defeat in their first Sky Bet League One match of 2024 as Leyton Orient secured a professional 0-2 victory at a bumper Abbey Stadium…

Following a close-fought first half, the O’s came out of the blocks firing by racing into a two-goal lead moments after the break thanks to Jordan Brown’s and Dan Agyei’s close-range finishes. The hosts were unable to muster a response and score for a sixth successive game, as the winning run at CB5 was terminated.

Approaching the encounter in fine fettle, despite losing for the first time in five last time out, the U’s had been a different animal on home soil - winning six from their previous seven. The chance to leapfrog Orient in the table was at stake, who themselves had picked up steam following a run of one defeat in four.

In response to the Boxing Day defeat to Oxford United six days earlier, Neil Harris opted to name two changes to his XI as Paul Digby and Saikou Janneh returned to the fold. On the bench, Will Mannion was deemed fit to make the squad whilst Brandon Njoku – recalled from his loan at St Ives Town – also was part of the 18.

An energetic start to proceedings saw Orient claim the first major attempt on the 8th minute when Theo Archibald played in lone striker Agyei inside the area, who beat a diving Jack Stevens but rattled against the post.

The visitors probably should have been a goal up moments later when Archibald’s corner was met by Tom James in the six-yard box, who flashed a header across the face of goal which evaded numerous men.

A well-worked move on the 17th minute saw United force a final-third scare when Janneh showcased pressure to open up for George Thomas, who found Jack Lankester in the area, but the winger couldn’t keep his volley down as it fired over the crossbar.

Dangerous with their deliveries, Thomas’ corner on 23 was met by a leaping Paul Digby, whose feint header almost snuck towards Michael Morrison at the back post from a matter of yards.

Five minutes later, livewire Archibald cracked a shot from just under 30 yards out of nowhere, which almost silenced the home crowd as it dipped at the right time and cracked against the crossbar.

Well in the ascendency, a deep cross from O’s playmaker Idris El Mizouni down the left on the half an hour mark was importantly punched away by Stevens, which looked to be on a plate for a looming Shaq Forde, who could only recycle before United cleared their lines.

On the 33rd minute, Archibald’s pinpoint delivery cut open the U’s defence, with Agyei racing past Jubril Okedina and pulling the trigger from a tight angle which Stevens astutely dealt with.

Looking to turn the screw moments before the half-time whistle, Danny Andrew’s corner was headed straight back to the full-back, who cleverly cut inside and picked his spot from an angle about 12 yards out, which curled over a sea of defenders and off target.

It meant the game stayed in deadlock heading into the break, with the visitors boasting the chances but the U’s retained their threat, despite finding it tricky without a recognised forward.

A blow was dealt seconds after the players were back out for the second period when Thomas limped off owing to injury, with Sullay Kaikai replacing him.

Richie Wellens’ men raced into the lead on the 53rd minute when Max Sanders’ corner wasn’t properly cleared, prompting an unmarked Brown to drill into the back of the net from ten yards out.

Three minutes later, the U’s had a mountain to climb after a hustling Agyei showcased strength to maraud into the area and shoot through the legs of Stevens to double the healthy lead.

On the 64th minute, former U Joe Pigott came off of the bench and carved a scare when he beat two men before cannoning a powerful attempt which almost scraped the tip of the crossbar.

With their efforts to gain a consolation dwindling, time was running out for United, who introduced Ryan Bennett and Adam May before Njoku came on for his first team debut with ten minutes left on the clock.

Their best moment arrived on 82 when Njoku slipped in behind the opposing defence and played it back to Andrew, who darted down the flank and picked out Lankester with a cross, who leapt well but couldn’t divert it any lower as it sailed wide.

Lankester was at the heart of the next move, with the number ten working the space for a strike on the outskirts of the box, but the shot was dragged wide of Solomon Brynn’s right post.

Deep into stoppage time, a consolation was almost served when Njoku teed up R. Bennett in a dangerous position, but his lash at goal was claimed by Brynn.

It proved to be the end of a tough 90 minutes for United, who were unable to retain the performance levels of their recent run as they came out second best to Orient.

Up next, attention turns to the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday (6th January) as United make the trip to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers – with a scalp and a passage to the Fourth Round in their sights.

 

Cambridge United: Stevens, L. Bennett, Okedina (R. Bennett, 65’), Morrison, Andrew, Cousins, Digby, Lankester, Thomas (Kaikai, 46’), Brophy (May, 65’), Janneh (Njoku, 81’)

Subs Not Used: Mannion, Ibsen Rossi, Gordon

Goalscorers:

Bookings: Lankester

 

Leyton Orient: Brynn, Brown, Beckles, Happe, James, Sanders (Pratley, 74’), El Mizouni, Forde, Galbraith (Cooper, 83’), Archibald, Agyei (Pigott, 62’)

Subs Not Used: Howes, Sweeney, Turns, Moncur

Goalscorers: Brown (53’), Agyei (56’)

Bookings: Beckles, Archibald, James, Galbraith, Forde

 

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 7210 (1251 away fans)

Man of the Match: L. Bennett

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