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29 August 2020

Cambridge United made a winning return to action at the Abbey Stadium, completing their pre-season schedule with a 1-0 win over Ipswich Town.

Paul Digby’s second half goal was the difference, as Mark Bonner’s side produced another confidence boosting display in preparation for the 2020/21 campaign.

Much like their encounter with Gillingham earlier in the week, United looked a well-organised unit throughout the opening 45 minutes, and were much the more threatening offensively.

Harry Darling came close with an early header, meeting Luke Hannant’s corner at the peak of his leap, but not able to get over the ball enough to keep it underneath the cross bar from six yards.

His centre back partner wasn’t far away either on the end of another precisely delivered set piece from Hannant, but his volley from an outstretched right boot didn’t make strong enough contact to find the target.

Harvey Knibbs flashed a shot across goal on the half hour mark, following slick counter attacking link up play between Mullin and Hoolahan to allow the striker the time for a shot inside the Ipswich area.

Hoolahan was again provider four minutes before the break, sliding a pass into Knibbs who let fire on goal but a deflection carried the effort wide of the mark.

The Tractors Boys introduced a pair of changes after half time, with Corrie Ndaba and James Norwood entering the fray. The latter immediately became a threat for the U’s defence, and struck the foot of the post with a diving header on 50 minutes.

United were tested with the visitor’s longest spell of sustained pressure for the opening ten minutes of the second half but dealt with it well.

In fact when Hoolahan played Paul Mullin the ball on half way, the striker showed great pace to beat James Wilson on the outside and wrap a shot off the inside of the post, which fell perfectly for Paul Digby to calmly slot into the net and give United the lead on 56 minutes.

United made a host of changes for the final 20 minutes, which included a switch in strike partnership on top as Paul Mullin and Harvey Knibbs were replaced by Andy Dallas and Joe Ironside.

Kyle Knoyle produced an exquisite touch wide right of the Tractor Boys penalty area to get the better of visitors right back and carry the ball into the box, but his dangerous ball into the six yard box was hooked away by Luke Wolfenden.

Tom Dickens, on for Harry Darling for the final 15 minutes, found himself well placed when a loose ball fell at the feet of the youngster from a U’s free kick into the Ipswich 18 yard box, but the defender was denied by a smart stop from Thomas Holy.

Harrison Dunk made an outstanding sliding challenge to dispossess James Norwood, who looked certain to level the match in a dangerous position in front of goal six minutes from time.

The U’s were close to extending the winning margin with a fine sprint forward by Kyle Knoyle, but the right back’s effort with his weaker left foot was always rising above the target. Nevertheless the U’s completed the job, to see out their pre-season fixture schedule with a win.

Cambridge United: Mitov, Knoyle, Darling (Dickens, 72 mins), Taylor, Iredale (Dunk 61 mins), Hoolahan (Knowles, 61 mins), Digby (Simper, 73 mins), O’Neil (Trialist, 61 mins), Hannant (Neal, 84 min), Mullin (Ironside, 69 mins), Knibbs (Dallas, 69 mins)

Ipswich Town: Cornell (Holy, 73 mins), Wilon, Wolfenden, Nolan (El-Mizouni, 69 mins), Donacien (Ndaba, 45 mins), Lankester (Folami, 73 mins), Judge, McGavin (Dobra, 62 mins), Smith, Hawkins (Norwood, 45 mins, Huws

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