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Match Reports

Addicks seal win over U's at the Abbey

19 April 2022

Cambridge United fell to defeat against Charlton Athletic as two deflected second half goals from the away side made the difference in a closely-contested clash at the Abbey…

As expected, Mark Bonner rang the changes with seven named ahead of kick-off. Liam Bennett, Liam O'Neil, Wes Hoolahan, Shilow Tracey, Jack Lankester, Ben Worman and Will Mannion – who was making his debut – all came into the team.

Despite all of the changes, it was the U’s who looked the more assured and dangerous during the opening half.

Tracey had a great chance to get the game off to a blockbuster start when he was released into space as he beared down on goal, but saw his shot blocked after holding onto the ball for a touch too long.

With 13 minutes played, arms were aloft around the Abbey as it looked like Smith had given the U’s the lead, but after Hoolahan had laid the ball to him on a plate, the striker curled agonisingly wide of goal.

Lankester and Worman both spurned good sights of goal soon after, with the latter’s chance being the most presentable but the youngster couldn’t keep his effort down after hitting it first time.

A rare Charlton attack in the 41st minute resulted in Mannion being made to work for the first time in the game, as Washington fired straight at the goalkeeper when faced him one-on-one.

The visitors increased their threat after the break as Gilbey saw two efforts from outside of the box saved by Mannion before Stockley missed the chance of the match – heading just wide of the post from 6 yards out after his strike partner Washington stood the ball up for him to nod in.

Just before, the ever-dangerous Tracey was played through on goal by O’Neil but tried to pick out Smith in the centre instead of going for goal, and his pass was cut-out by a covering Charlton defender.

Digby, Knibbs and Ironside all joined the action at the mid-point of the second half as the U’s looked to find the goal that would consolidate their top-half place.

Mannion was enjoying an excellent debut between the sticks and made his most important contribution with 20 minutes left in the contest, as he palmed over a close-range Connor Washington strike to deny the Charlton striker.

He could do nothing about the goal that gave the Addicks the lead just a few minutes later though, as Blackett-Taylor worked his way into the box before striking the ball into a crowded six-yard box, which deflected into the net off the unfortunate Worman.

Eager to make a telling contribution at the other end of the pitch, Worman went for goal from 30 yards out in the immediate aftermath, which forced MacGillivray to spill the ball back into the area where Smith was waiting, but unable to pounce as the ball bounced away from the striker.

The second Charlton goal was equally as cruel for Mannion and the U’s as Aneke’s strike on goal from distance deflected off Washington - taking a fierce change of direction – and nestling into the net.

Smith came inches away from his 20th goal of the season as the minutes dwindled down, but his half-volley from a narrow angle was brilliantly saved by the Charlton stopper.

United will now aim to pick up another away day scalp at Sunderland on Saturday as just two games remain in the League One season.

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