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Match Reports

U's lose at Fratton Park

16 August 2022

Cambridge United fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Portsmouth at Fratton Park despite leading the contest with 46 minutes played…

Joe Ironside put the U’s deservedly in front with an instinctive near-post finish on the half hour mark, but when the hosts equalised on the stroke of half-time, it sparked a ferocious comeback from those in Blue in the second half.

Three second half goals within the space of 15 minutes turned the game on its head, as uncharacteristic errors allowed the home side to run away with the contest.

The U’s travelled down to the South Coast in a buoyant and confident mood following a morale-boosting victory against Exeter at the weekend, which improved their record to start the season to three wins and just one defeat.

Mark Bonner named four changes as Taylor, Haunstrup, O’Neil and Tracey replaced the injured Williams, Dunk, May and Brophy. It meant a first league start for the skipper one day short of a year, since breaking his ankle away at Plymouth last season.

It took just two minutes for the first booking of the game to be brandished – O’Neil shown yellow after going in high and late on Tom Lowery. No complaints there.

Tracey was the first U’s player to threaten the Pompey goal - on 15 minutes - capitalising on cumbersome play from Cambridge-born Morrison, to rob him of possession before striking at goal, only to see Griffiths stand firm in goal.

All of the clearest sights of goal were coming from Cambridge and with 27 minutes gone, the U’s saw another brilliant opportunity go begging.

Super play from Shilow Tracey saw the winger break away from his markers and after playing in Okedina down the side, the makeshift right back picked out Smith, whose initial flick came to Ironside but he was denied brilliantly by Griffiths again.

Not to worry. The subsequent corner was swung in by O’Neil and turned in by Ironside at the near-post. U’s 1-0 up.

United almost made it to the break having kept the home side at arm’s length for the majority of the half, but once three minutes of added time were awarded, Pompey came on strong. Moments after forcing Mitov into his first meaningful save of the game, Colby Bishop forced the ball home from close range after a well-timed switch of play to draw the two side’s level heading into the half.

The second half exploded into life right from the off, roared on by a raucous home crowd.

Pompey could have taken the lead within minutes of the restart with Owen Dale firing high and wide from a good position and up the other end, Tracey turned on the burners again to stride past all in blue before seeing a fearsome shot well blocked.

O’Neil came a few yards away from replicating his heroics at Fratton Park last season, with a well-hit strike from the edge of the box stinging the palms of Griffiths and almost skidding under him and over the line.

A rare error from Mitov allowed the hosts to retake the lead on 63 minutes as the goalkeeper failed to hold onto the ball from a deep corner, which allowed Curtis the simple task of scoring from a few yards out.

Bonner rang the changes on 67 minutes as May, Brophy and Dunk soon replaced O’Neil, Knibbs and Haunstrup, but the game soon became out of reach as Jacobs and then Ogilvie scored for the home side to give them an unassailable 4-1 lead.

Janneh and Lankester did their best to make their mark on the game as they came on for Tracey and Ironside during the closing stages, but in the end it was a sombre night for the U’s who came away hurting after 45 minutes of such promise.

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Cambridge United: Mitov, Haunstrup (Dunk, 67’), Digby, Taylor, Jones, O'Neil (May 67’), Ironside, Smith, Okedina, Tracey (Janneh, 76’), Knibbs (Brophy, 67’)

Subs not used: Mannion, Lankester, Ibsen Rossi

Goalscorers: Ironside

Bookings: O’Neil, Jones, Okedina

 

Pompey: Griffiths; Rafferty, Morrison, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Dale (Hackett, 72’), Pack (Mingi, 90’), Lowery (Thompson, 63’), Curtis; Scarlett (Jacobs, 63’), Bishop (Pigott, 72’)

Subs not used: Oluwayemi, Swanson

Goalscorers: Bishop, Curtis, Jacobs

Bookings: 

 

Referee: Chris Pollard

Attendance: 17,702 (460 away fans)


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