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14 October 2023 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 Shrewsbury Town

13 October 2023

Cambridge United return to the Abbey Stadium with the sole aim of restoring that winning feeling in Sky Bet League One this weekend when Shrewsbury Town make the trip to CB5...

Similarly impressive starts to the season for both the U’s and the Shrews have been diminished of late, with just the solitary point separating the sides. Mark Bonner’s group will be eager to use their home support as a springboard to terminate a five-match winless run, a feat that the visitors achieved in midweek.

How to Watch

Another big crowd is expected for Saturday’s encounter, which gets underway at 3pm. To avoid disappointment, be quick in securing your place.

Only single tickets are available in the Main Stand, with very few also left for sale in the Newmarket Road End and North Habbin. However, a generous amount of spacing is still on offer in the South Habbin.

Be sure to keep your notifications on for the Ticket Office Account on Twitter for all of the latest updates regarding sales.

Opposition Focus

Experiencing mixed fortunes since their formation in 1886, Town moved to Gay Meadow in 1910 and joined the Football League in 1950 following a successful election campaign. Just shy of three decades later, they made the second division for the first time in their history. Although they dropped down the leagues slightly from here, they’ve established themselves as a no-nonsense third tier outfit ever since their promotion from League Two in 2015, even making the play-off final in 2017/18 after a superb campaign, but fell short to Rotherham United at Wembley. First, Steve Cotterill laid stern foundations for Salop in recent years, firing them to 12th last season – their best showing in five years – but a new era dawns under Matt Taylor, who is hoping to turn the corner.

Following a summer of change, the 3-5-2 formation is retained. Slovakian goalkeeper Marko Marosi has started every single game and attained four clean sheets, with the dependable Morgan Feeney and Tom Flanagan either side of defensive rock Chey Dunkley – a threat in each box. Carl Winchester, Joseph Anderson or veteran Elliott Bennett usually hug and dart down the flanks, with Tom Bayliss, Taylor Perry and Hibernian loanee Nohan Kenneh the midfield destroyers. Although summer signings Max Mata and Kieran Phillips are yet to break their duck, fellow strikers Ryan Bowman and Daniel Udoh are real powerhouses and a nuisance to contend with.

As far as starts to the season goes, the Shrews ticked along well thanks to three wins from their opening five as Cheltenham Town, Burton Albion and Fleetwood Town were all edged out during one-goal victories. A five-game winless and goalless streak followed, with one point picked up from a possible 15 – concluded by a tricky 3-0 defeat at Oxford United. Last weekend, they turned the screw with a last-gasp triumph against Northampton Town to rise them to 19th. With a five-point gap from the drop, the task is to ensure it increases and improve on their five-goal showing.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: LDDLL

Shrewsbury Town: WLDLW

United’s Approach

The U’s will be hoping to find the fuel to charge a positive streak after they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Burton on Monday’s televised clash at the Pirelli Stadium.

A clinical first period for the Brewers saw them convert their two clear-cut attempts as pinpoint crosses were turned home from Josh Walker and Deji Oshilaja. It ultimately proved to be decisive as Fejiri Okenabirhie’s headed finish halved the arrears and set up a tight finish, where the visitors dominated the ball but couldn’t force more chances as Dino Maamria’s men stayed compact.

Reflecting on the display, the Head Coach stated: “You give yourselves too much of a mountain to climb when you fall behind against a team like that… We’ve got good players but we’ve got to do more to make those situations turn out for us because it’s a game that we should come and take something from, but we make it really hard for ourselves from the start.”

It was the first time this season that United have suffered back-to-back league losses – they’ll need to ensure that doesn’t occur again for some time. The loss extends their run to one win in eight in all competitions, but as the games come thick and fast – which includes taking on the two lowest-scoring teams next up – they’ll keep plugging away and battling for points.

Quick Quotes

Bonner on the tight schedule: “We’ve got some big games coming up and the relentless schedule will be good for us I think. There are three cup games in amongst that, but in the main I think we’re quite happy with the number of games that we’ve got coming.”

Bonner on starting games strong: “To concede early in both games (Barnsley and Burton) makes it difficult. First goals are always important in games and we’ve always seen that. We need to make sure that we are at the level from the very start to make sure we can get on top of the game.”

Bonner on how to tame the Shrews: “We’ll have to be excellent with the ball, create tempo at the right times and be creative when we get to the top third, but be robust and energetic and aggressive to defend against their threats in a direct style.”

Team News

In regards to team news, every member of Monday’s squad is fit, training and hungry for minutes, whilst Gassan Ahadme has a good chance of making a return – his slight strain will be assessed throughout the buildup and will be selected should he make it through training unscathed. Elsewhere, Kai Yearn has returned from his loan spell at King’s Lynn Town.

Head-to-Head

Cambridge United Wins: 15

Shrewsbury Town Wins: 12

Draws: 10

Down Memory Lane

Just four weeks after a euphoric come-from-behind Boxing Day victory, United succumbed to a dreary 5-1 shellacking in Shropshire in our previous meeting.

Luke Leahy and Jordan Shipley handed Salop a two-goal cushion heading into the break, which was extended through Matthew Pennington’s powering header on the hour. Joe Ironside restored parity and generated hope, but Christian Saydee and Leahy went on to net to cap a rampant display and consign the visitors to the relegation zone – where they would remain until the final day of the season.

Adamant to turn things around, Bonner said on that January afternoon: “We’ve got to do miles better. We’re way off where we need to be and we know what the situation is and if we don’t sort ourselves out there is only one thing that’s going to happen. (There’s) 20 games to do better and that’s on all of us to do that.”

Now, the U’s look to exact some revenge and build on a run of just the sole victory in five against Shrewsbury, where they’ve conceded 12 in that period. On the contrary, their home form is remarkable. In the previous 16 encounters stretching back to March 1978, Salop have returned from CB5 with just one win – that coming in a routine 0-2 FA Cup success in 2020/21.

Officials

Referee: Scott Tallis

Assistant Referee: Paul Kelly

Assistant Referee: Chris Wade

Fourth Official: Joseph Stokes

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Match Reports

Report: Cambridge United 1-1 Shrewsbury Town

14 October 2023

Cambridge United’s latest Sky Bet League One clash saw them share the spoils with Shrewsbury Town as late drama forced a 1-1 draw at the Abbey Stadium...

A spectacular solo attempt from Michael Morrison mid-way through the second half looked to be an extremely worthy matchwinner, but the U’s were pegged back near the death as Taylor Perry snatched at a golden opportunity to grab a point apiece.

Despite enjoying similarly impressive starts to the season, the sides had diminished of late and just a point separated them heading into the fixture. The hosts were eager to use their home support as the springboard to terminate a five-match winless run, a feat Salop – who had scored just five all season - had achieved in their most recent outing.

Mark Bonner’s latest team selection saw him name the single change to the side that started in the televised defeat to Burton Albion on Monday night. After being called up for international duty with Sierra Leone, Sullay Kaikai made way for John-Kymani Gordon. Elsewhere, Gassan Ahadme returned to the matchday squad.

Determined to make an early statement, the U’s attacked with pace and forced their first corner on the 6th minute when a great flick from James Brophy found Fejiri Okenabirhie, who used his power to return the favour – the winger lined himself up from distance but his shot was crucially blocked by Tom Flanagan.

They arguably should have been ahead four minutes later when a well-worked corner routine concluded with a dummy for Danny Andrew, whose attempt deflected towards the six-yard box and was headed towards Michael Morrison, who scrambled wide from a matter of yards.

The Shrews grabbed the first shot on target on 13 when a long throw caused pinball in the box, allowing Mal Benning, Chey Dunkley and then Brandon Fleming to pull the trigger, with the latter hitting a tame attempt which was handled by Jack Stevens.

On the half an hour mark, a back pass from Liam Bennett enticed an alert Kieran Phillips, who raced and latched towards the ball but was denied by a fine tackle from Stevens to ensure the match remained in deadlock.

The best opportunity of the afternoon was conjured up with 37 gone when L. Bennett’s pinpoint lofted ball fell gracefully to Okenabirhie down the right, who cut back to an open Lankester from 10 yards who cannoned against the woodwork before lines were cleared.

The last action of an even first half fell to Matt Taylor’s men after Dan Udoh held the ball up well before finding Tom Bayliss to his right, who from a tough angle inside the box drilled wide.

Looking to impose themselves from the get go after the break, Gordon picked his spot and tested his luck with a speculative 25-yard effort, which had the venom but not quite enough dip as it sailed inches above Marko Marosi’s crossbar.

From here, the game turned in the Shrews’ favour, with their pressure forcing blocks and a couple of quickfire opportunities through Jason Sraha, before Phillips attempted an overhead kick which was directed just wide.

After retaining possession well with a neat passing sequence around the back, captain Morrison popped up with a solo effort for the ages on 68. Picking it up from just past the halfway line, he danced past five different men in blue with skill and tenacity before executing into the bottom corner and wheeling away towards the delirious South Habbin.

By the time the celebrations had finished, Jordan Cousins and Ahadme were on to help shore up the game. Work was still needed to be done, however, with Salop going close on the 80th minute when Udoh pulled back for Tunmise Sobowale, but his effort was prevented by Andrew’s tackle.

With the game in its dying embers, Shrewsbury gained a late equaliser after a lengthy scrap inside the penalty area was unable to be cleared by a sea of amber, resulting in Perry latching home from close range.

Unable to respond, United had to remain compact and contend with the Shrews’ late pressure to see out the draw, which in itself was tricky to take but importantly cancelled out the losing streak and added another point to the tally.

Action at the Abbey continues on Tuesday evening (17 October) when attention turns to the EFL Trophy, where the U’s host Colchester United - be sure to back the boys.

 

Cambridge United: Stevens, L. Bennett, R. Bennett, Morrison, Andrew, Digby (Cousins, 70’), Thomas, Brophy, Lankester (May, 60’), Gordon (Janneh, 60’), Okenabirhie (Ahadme, 69’)

Subs Not Used: Mannion, Okedina, Ibsen Rossi

Goalscorers: Morrison (68’)

Bookings: Digby, Gordon

 

Shrewsbury Town: Marosi, Sraha, Flanagan, Dunkley, Benning (Bowman, 73’), Winchester, Perry, Fleming, Bayliss (E. Bennett, 80’), Phillips (Sobowale, 73’), Udoh

Subs Not Used: Burgoyne, Anderson, Pierre, Watts

Goalscorers: Perry (87’)

Bookings: Benning

 

Referee: Scott Tallis

Attendance: 6252 (342 away fans)

Man of the Match: Morrison

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