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Match Previews

Match Preview: Taylor Testimonial vs West Ham

5 December 2022

Cambridge United celebrate 10 years of Greg Taylor on Tuesday evening as they welcome West Ham United to the Abbey Stadium for the captain’s testimonial...

With 368 appearances in amber and black to his name, the decorated defender, who has enjoyed two promotions, an FA Trophy and a Player of the Year award since arriving in 2013, is rewarded with a visit from his boyhood team.

How to Watch

Tuesday evening’s clash kicks off at 7pm, with adult tickets available for £15, concessions £10 and juniors £5 for both the Main Stand and the Newmarket Road End.

All proceeds after costs will go to Greg, so even if you can’t attend, please consider buying a ticket to show your support. Buy your tickets from CUFCtickets.com, by calling 01223 566500 or by purchasing from the Abbey Stadium Ticket Office.

Opposition Focus

One of English football’s biggest names, West Ham United look set to bring a strong side up to CB5 as former U David Moyes aims to provide his team with valuable match fitness in preparation for their return to Premier League football later this month.

Following an awe-inspiring 2021/22, which saw the Hammers finish 7th and reach the semi-finals of the Europa League in their first international adventure in half a decade, the side have enjoyed the perfect start in the Conference League, winning all six of their group matchups to advance to the last 16, but struggled in the bread and butter. The solitary victory in their opening seven games raised eyebrows, but they lost one of their next five to rise up the table, only to fall to three successive defeats before the unprecedented season received a break. Languishing in 16th and a point from the drop, the East London outfit will want to hit the ground running from Boxing Day onwards.

In their first friendly match before they travel to Udinese and then welcome Fulham, the visitors could potentially give minutes to many first-team players within the squad, which will no doubt keep Greg and co on their toes. Those who won’t appear are France’s Alphonse Areola, Germany’s Tilo Kehrer, Moroccan centre-back Nayef Aguerd, the talented Lucas Paqueta and skipper Declan Rice, who have all been involved at the World Cup. In spite of that, a foray of star-studded quality and experience will be on show.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: DWLLL

West Ham United: LWLLL

United’s Approach

The U’s return to the Abbey following a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat to Forest Green Rovers at the death three days earlier.

Josh March’s first-half header looked to be the difference as United struggled to find a foothold towards the dying embers, but they persevered and drew level through Saikou Janneh’s first goal. Moments after the celebrations, Connor Wickham blasted home a penalty for the ten-man hosts to seal the points.

A cruel way to lose a game of football, the group retain 20th place, but now sit just three points from the relegation zone. Nonetheless, with the season yet to reach its halfway stage, a plethora of points are still up for grabs, as the attention now turns to celebrating a modern-day U’s legend.

Looking ahead to the testimonial, Head Coach Mark Bonner said, “I think that longevity is really important, because it builds your connections and culture in your club, and Greg’s been really important in that.”

On team news, he stated: “It’s just our squad (involved), there’s no headline appearances.”

10 Years of Taylor

2013/14 – After arriving from Luton Town, the left-back starts every single league game, scoring one goal, as the U’s secure promotion to the Football League following play-off success against Gateshead at Wembley Stadium. A couple of months earlier, he started as United dispatched Gosport Borough 4-0 in the FA Trophy Final.

2014/15 – Greg is part of the stubborn United backline that forces a famous 0-0 draw against Manchester United in a memorable FA Cup Fourth Round evening at the Abbey Stadium, before playing the full 90 as they bowed out at Old Trafford in the replay.

2015/16 – A regular feature, Taylor makes 19 appearances before an ankle injury picked up on Boxing Day rules him out for the campaign.

2016/17 – Showcasing his versatility, Taylor is deployed in both full-back positions, centre-back and even as a defensive midfielder during his 43 appearances in all competitions as United almost make the Sky Bet League Two play-offs. He also pops up with a goal of the season contender after his thunderous 25-yarder sunk Crewe Alexandra in December.

2017/18 – A mainstay once again, Taylor appears on 49 different occasions, keeping 18 clean sheets and bulging the onion bag in a thrilling 4-3 success against Cheltenham Town.

2018/19 – The U’s have a tricky season, finishing 21st in League Two, but Greg scores a pivotal late equaliser at home to Bury to pinch a point and directs a pinpoint header to gain victory at Notts County in front of 1600+ U’s. His goals and displays help stave off relegation.

2019/20 – After becoming a staple in the heart of United’s defence, the number five becomes the permanent captain and deservedly wins the Player of the Season award.

2020/21 – Taylor starts all 46 league games as the U’s top off a barnstorming season by securing promotion to Sky Bet League One on the final day of the campaign.

2021/22 – The defender leads the team out for their first match in the third tier in 19 years, battling to a creditable draw. Ten days later, his season comes to an unfortunate end as he suffers a fractured ankle against Plymouth Argyle. The squad pay a fitting tribute in their next home game, lifting the skipper’s shirt and number to the crowd during the goal celebration.

2022/23 – Greg pens a new one-year deal after recovering from his long-term injury, confirming a well-deserved testimonial before marking his return to action with a clean sheet against Millwall in August.

Officials

Referee: Neil Hair

Assistants: George Byrne and Gareth Viccars

Fourth Official: Stacey Fullicks


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