Cambridge United’s schedule of pre-season fixtures was concluded with 0-0 draw against League One Ipswich Town at the Abbey Stadium.
The game provided Colin Calderwood’s men with one final chance to complete their preparations and add minutes to the tank ahead of the start 2019/20 campaign which kicks off at Bradford City in a weeks’ time.
Elliot Ward produced an important block on the edge of the U’s 18 yard box to deny Danny Rowe the opportunity take a clean shot at Dimi Mitov’s goal on 18 minutes and United countered to carve out their first opening of the match in the same phase of play. Jabo Ibehre was slid through after strong link up play from United’s trialist before the striker’s shot was stopped low by Ipswich keeper Tomas Holy.
United continued to produce spells of quality in possession as the first half progressed, although the only real action in front of goal took place at the other end of the field. Twice Tractor Boys frontman Kayden Jackson fired off target with Mitov looking to have both attempts covered.
The Bulgarian was called into action though late in the first half, to cut out a cross which look destined to be turned in by James Norwood at close range.
Liam O’Neil and Callum Burton were introduced for the second half, and the latter was quick to make an excellent save six minutes after the break, dropping low to his right to push away a header by Norwod which for a moment looked to have the beating of the U’s shot stopper.
George Maris went close for the U’s soon after but the midfielder’s snapshot from 18 yards had a touch too much curl on it and bent away from Holy’s top left corner.
Colin Calderwood made wholesale changes on 56 minutes with Ward, Knoyle, Jones, Hoolahan and Maris replaced by Davies, Darling, Dunk, Lewis, Hannant.
Leon Davies’ deep cross moments later picked out Luke Hannant who took a tidy first touch and forced Holy into a save from an acute angle, before the keeper pounced on Ibehre’s rebound shot.
James Norwood turned the ball into the United net shortly after the hour mark, but the officials were quick to chalk off the effort with the former the Tranmere Rovers man clearly handling the ball in the process of sending it goalwards.
Emyr Huws drilled shot from 20 yards which skidded off the turf was matched by an equally impressive stop by Callum Burton with ten minutes left to play. Tom Knowles, who had been ssubbed on midway through the second half, nailed a fierce strike from 30 yards that looked to have the beating of Holy, but it slammed the advertising hoardings behind the goal instead of the net.
The game came to an explosive end when a late challenge from Paul Lewis enraged Ipswich midfielder Flynn Downes enough to head butt the midfielder and sparked a big coming together between both sets of players, which only ended with Downes received a red card as well as Jabo Ibehre for his part in the resulting melee.
Luke Hannant hit the Tractor Boys at pace on a late United counter attack, which saw Knowles involved too but ended with Liam O’Neil firing over the top as the game finished goalless.
The U’s next action will see them kick off the 2019/20 season against Bradford City at Valley Parade on Saturday 3rd August.
Cambridge United: Mitov (Burton, 45 mins), Knoyle (Davies, 56 mins), Taylor, Ward (Darling, 56 mins), Jones (Dunk, 56 mins), Curruthers, Maris (Lewis, 56 mins), Hoolahan (Hannant, 56 mins), Lambe (Knowles, 71 mins), Trialist (81 mins), Ibehre
Bookings: Ibehre - RED
Ipswich Town: Holy, Donacien (Huws, 57 mins), Woolfenden (Chambers, 57 minss), Guthrie (Wilson, 45 mins), Clements, Downes, Skuse, Jackson (Jude, 45 min), Norwood, Rowe (Garbutt, 45 mins), Dozzell (Dobra, 57 min)
Bookings: Downes - RED
Attendance: 3,619 (1,663)