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U's earn point in opening fixture against Oxford

7 August 2021

Cambridge United came back from behind to secure a point against Oxford United in the opening game of the Sky Bet League One season...

On what was a tremendous occasion that saw 6,444 supporters inside the Abbey, Mark Bonner's men made sure that the U's supporters went home happy as they put in a committed performance that was rewarded with a point. 

After falling behind through Steve Seddon's first half strike, Joe Ironside got up and running for the season from the spot, with an expertly taken penalty.

Three debutants were named with George Williams, Lloyd Jones and James Brophy all making their first competitive starts for the Club. Shilow Tracey also got the nod to make his first start since being made a permanent member of the U's squad and Dimitar Mitov made his return to the team for the first time since January 23rd.

It was a relatively even opening ten minutes to the game, with Shliow Tracey's tackle on the goalkeeper proving to be the only real point of mention, however he was unable to retrieve the loose ball that eventually ran out for a goal kick.

Some clever link up play from Hoolahan and Brophy down the left sent the former away, however the Irishman's cross couldn't be met by the incoming Shilow Tracey, this passage sparked United's first spell of dominance in the game.

Cambridge's best play in the first half came through summer signing James Brophy, who's pace continuously threatened the Oxford defence. Brophy's counterpart, Shilow Tracey down the right flank drew the game's first yellow card, after being bundled over by Williams following another impressive Cambridge counter on the half hour mark.

The visitors took the lead in the 42nd minute, after Williams' cross escaped the Cambridge backline, finding it's way to left back Steve Seddon at the far post. Oxford continued to threat up until the close of play in the first half, with striker Matty Taylor narrowly missing the far post with a header.

United began to grow into the early stages of the second half, with Hoolahan looking the most likely to inspire Cambridge into finding an equaliser. However, it was the visitors who spurned a golden opportunity to double their lead, with Gavin Whyte dragging his shot wide, when in truth there were much better options either side of him.

Adam May was introduced into the game in the 70th minute, replacing Liam O'Neil, who had been booked in the first half. Shortley after, Cambridge returned to a two-up-top, with Sam Smith coming on to replace Shilow Tracey.

United's endeavours in the second half were rewarded as they were awarded a deserved penalty following a trip on Digby. Joe Ironside confidently dispatched the resulting spot kick and the game was all square again.

Noise levels were raised through the roof as Cambridge pressed for another goal – Oxford looked to have struggled to come to terms with the tactical switch up from Mark Bonner.

The game concluded with both teams pushing for a winner, however it wasn't to be and Cambridge came away from their first game in League One with a deserved point against last season's play-off semi-finalists Oxford United.​

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