Back up and running, Cambridge United are looking to register back-to-back Sky Bet League One successes for the first time since the introduction to the season as they do battle with Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park...
Now that the run without victory is over, the U’s are out to kick on and improve on their away form by pulling a trick on the Chairboys on Halloween, who are winless in three and sit just two points above them in the table.
How to Watch
Over 300 U’s fans have already secured their attendance for Tuesday evening’s tie in Buckinghamshire, which gets underway at 7:45pm.
Join them by purchasing your tickets online or from Adams Park on the day of the game. Please note, online sales end at 9pm on Monday.
Alternatively, if you can't make it to the match, pick up an iFollow Match Pass and back the U’s from home! Passes cost £10 and are available to be purchased here.
Founded in 1887 during a meeting held at the Steam Engine pub on Station Road, Wanderers first started playing competitive football in 1896, but resisted the opportunity to turn professional. A century later, following eight Isthmian League titles, two FA Trophy successes and a Conference triumph, the Chairboys finally became a Football League club in 1993. Latching onto the momentum, back-to-back promotions helped them accelerate into the third tier, where they stayed for over a decade. After four years of yo-yoing between 2008 to 2012, they escaped relegation back to non-league and became a dogged outfit, soaring to the Championship for the first time in their history as recently as 2021, where the great escape was almost performed. The 2021/22 play-off finalists are itching to return and certainly have the resources and personnel to improve on last season’s ranking of 9th.
Setting up with a 3-4-1-2 formation under former player Matt Bloomfield, Max Stryjek played a blinder in the April clash and should don the sticks, with Chris Forino-Joseph an undisputed figurehead when fit, as is 37-year-old Richard Keogh and exceptional summer signing Luke Leahy – who has popped up with nine goal involvements. Youngsters Harry Boyes and Jasper Pattenden hug the lines, whilst Crystal Palace and West Ham United loanees Killian Phillips and Freddie Potts partner experienced and creative former Jamaican international Garath McCleary. To top things off, Dale Taylor is an exciting player for this level and Brandon Hanlan has the know-how, just like battering ram Sam Vokes who is prone to giving opponents a tough time.
A slow start saw the Chairboys succumb to back-to-back 3-0 defeats, to Exeter City and Lincoln City respectively, but registering 13 points from a possible 15 – which included promising home victories over Leyton Orient and Blackpool - soon shot the group up the league. The unbeaten run was terminated by Charlton Athletic, but they bounced back and triumphed against Carlisle and trounced Fleetwood Town 1-4 either side of a slender loss to Portsmouth. Wycombe’s previous three games had resulted in 14 goals, with two points picked up courtesy of draws with Peterborough United and Oxford United last time out. Only two sides in the division have conceded more than the hosts’ 23, but nonetheless they approach the match in 10th position and have a five-point gap from the play-offs to bridge.
Wycombe Wanderers: WWDLD
Cambridge United: DLLDW
The U’s got the ball rolling and hope to have now turned a corner after they dispatched nine-man Carlisle United at the Abbey in their most recent League One tussle.
The Cumbrians’ effective wing play ensured they were the outfit who came out of the blocks firing, but United progressed as the encounter ticked on and capitalised on an impressive second-half showing with a fine George Thomas header. Red cards from Jack Armer and Alfie McCalmont late in the afternoon to importantly ensure maximum points for the first time since early September.
Reflecting on the afternoon, the Head Coach stated: “We’ve built two good performances this week and four good points off of a very good out-of-possession performance in both games.
“We needed a win quite quickly. We’ve had some good results in there, we’ve had a couple of rubbish performances in amongst it which makes everyone nervous that the next one’s not coming, but it is. We’ve got good players and we’re a good side.”
It put to an end the eight-game winless run and was the seventh clean sheet the group had recorded this season – the joint-most alongside Portsmouth, Barnsley and Stevenage. On top of that, the impressive run at home was stretched to just one defeat in seven, with a respectable 15 points attained from a possible 27. Up to 14th, there’s now just a three-point gap from 8th; improve on the solitary away victory and a rise into the top half is possible heading into the winter months.
Wycombe Wanderers Wins: 16
Cambridge United Wins: 6
Down Memory Lane
Despite a battling performance six months ago, the rejuvenated U’s tasted defeat at CB5 as Wycombe travelled home with a narrow 1-2 triumph.
Although United created the better of the first-half opportunities, they found themselves two goals down following Ryan Tafazolli’s volley and David Wheeler’s close-range header. They served up a consolation through the in-form Sam Smith on the hour mark, but ultimately couldn’t conjure a leveller – importantly, they still remained on the tails of their relegation rivals.
After witnessing his side lose for the first time in five matches, Bonner admitted: “In the end, a little bit in both boxes has cost us from taking something from a game that we definitely deserved something from… We’re playing really well but it [the fight against relegation] is going to go the distance so everybody better be ready for it.”
The last time Cambridge scored more than two in a game was at Tuesday’s venue just over a year ago in a 2-3 thriller. It remains the only win in the previous eight against the tricky Chairboys, who have won a third of the 24 encounters.
Referee: Will Finnie
Assistant Referee: Shaun Hudson
Assistant Referee: Lee Venamore
Fourth Official: Daniel Middleton