In the first game for Cambridge United back in-front of supporters for nearly 10 months, the U’s fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Brentford XI…
Played at St Neots’ Premier Plus Stadium in-front of a 726 strong crowd, the scoreline didn’t dampen the mood on what felt like a celebration of football as the U’s faithful showed their support for the recently promoted U’s.
Starting the game was the returning Mitov in goal, in addition to Williams, Jones, Taylor, Iredale, Knibbs, Hoolahan, Brophy, O’Neil, May and Ironside.
It was an action-packed first half with a real competitive edge as challenges went flying in from the off as chances began to open up for both teams.
Despite the U’s having the better of the play during the opening 20 minutes, it as the visitors who opened the scoring on 21 minutes as Trevitt finished under Mitov from a tight angle, just minutes after the United stopper denied him from the edge of the box.
The goal sparked a flurry of chances for the U’s as Taylor’s header was saved and Ironside struck the crossbar, before a delightful pass from Hoolahan was floated onto the head of Knibbs who guided the ball home into the far corner.
Although United were deservedly back on terms, Brentford still posed a real threat in attack with their quick and skilful forwards. They retook the lead on 33 minutes as a contentious penalty was awarded for a handball on Ironside, who blocked a goal-bound shot from possibly going in.
Bees Captain Adams converted the spot-kick and a few minutes later, a clever passing move unlocked the U’s defence and the lead was extended to 3-1.
Mark Bonner made five changes at the break, as Dunk, Digby, Weir, Smith and Tracey replaced Iredale, May, O’Neil, Knibbs and Ironside.
Chances came at more of a premium in the second half but United stayed patient in their pursuit for a route back into the game and it almost came from a set-piece as Digby whistled his effort just wide of the woodwork.
Worman, Dallas and Bennett came on for Hoolahan, Brophy and Williams with just over 20 minutes remaining and the youngsters injected some extra pace and enthusiasm into proceedings, but it was Harrison Dunk, with just days to go until his Testimonial, who came closest to scoring in the remaining minutes as he fired in a tremendous shot from 25 yards on the half-volley onto to see the impressive Winterbottom equal to it.
Tracey broke free of the Bees defence with less than 10 minutes to go, but when faced with the Brentford stopper he tried to find the bottom corner but once again, Winterbottom came up with the goods.
Just a few weeks after signing his first professional contract, Mamadou Jobe came on for Greg Taylor as the game petered out to end 3-1 to Brentford.