Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports

U's lose battle at New Lawn

3 December 2022

Match Reports

U's lose battle at New Lawn

3 December 2022

Cambridge United’s sticky run of form in Sky Bet League One continued as late drama saw Forest Green Rovers snatch a 2-1 victory at the Bolt New Lawn...

In a less-chaotic first half, Josh March headed home the opener from close-range. The U’s struggled to find a foothold from here, but did conclude a sweet passage of play moments from time when Saikou Janneh lashed in his first goal for the club. Just when a point apiece looked destined, Rovers - who saw defender Corey O’Keeffe see red in the build-up - converted a penalty through Connor Wickham to seal success in Nailsworth.

Going into the vital encounter, the U’s sat in 20th position following the solitary win in nine, with six points separating them and the hosts, who were rooted to the bottom of the table following a winless run of seven in the league.

Out to increase the gap and raise spirits, Mark Bonner made just the one change from the Emirates FA Cup defeat to Grimsby Town a week earlier as Ben Worman made his first league start of the season as Lewis Simper made way.

Within the opening minutes, the hosts looked the more determined to start on the front foot and force an early goal, keeping Will Mannion alert - who made two simple saves from Ben Stevenson’s and Myles Peart-Harris’ attempts at goal

On the 9th minute, Worman’s corner caused a mighty scramble in the six-yard box. Despite endeavour, no man in light blue could get their boot out to poke home and capitalise from pinball as Rovers eventually cleared their lines.

Growing into the game astutely, great pressing from Worman moments later allowed him to nick the ball off Dylan McGeouch 20 yards from goal before the midfielder pulled the trigger which lashed just wide of Luke McGee’s right post.

Industrious, United continued to pressurise Ian Birchnall’s side with their abundance of pace. On 23, James Brophy marauded into the far corner of the area, attempted a delicate shot which deflected off McGee and towards Joe Ironside who, with his back to goal, took a touch and went to clatter at goal in Newcastle-esque fashion before it was smuggled away well.

On the half an hour mark, a slight defensive mishap from the U’s allowed a tee up for McGeouch from inside the box whose venomous effort was critically blocked by the recovering George Williams.

United were undone on the 36th minute when McGeouch cut inside slightly down the left and picked out the unchallenged March with a sublime cross who guided his header home from a matter of yards, leaving Mannion rooted to the spot.

The goal visibly dampened the spirits of the visitors, who certainly had their chances, but Forest Green had continued to threaten in possession and would feel they were good value going into the break.

On 52, a corner was crafted following Ironside’s cross, which resulted in the ball falling invitingly to Jubril Okedina on the edge of the box whose shot went high and wide.

In a dogged start to the second half, very little action and opportunities were on show as the hosts looked keep their foothold. Requiring urgency, Sam Smith and Jack Lankester entered the fold with an hour on the clock.

A lofted ball from Okedina on 73 found Smith in a central position who raced onto it but couldn’t obtain the killer touch on the falling ball otherwise he would have been able to get a shot away from ten yards.

The closest chance of the half fell to the Peart-Harris five minutes from added time after the youngster picked his spot from over 20 yards which clattered just over Mannion’s crossbar. Seeing out the game in a professional manner, Rovers proceeded to bring on the experienced Jamille Matt to partner fellow substitute Wickham.

Just when defeat looked imminent, the U’s conjured up an unlikely equaliser in the 88th minute when Lankester and Lankester combined with a silky move before pulling back to Janneh who executed a drilled attempt past McGee – his first for the club and at a crucial time.

A matter of seconds after the restart, United were dealt an insufferable blow when Peart-Harris was fouled inside the box. Protests ensued, which resulted in Rovers defender O’Keeffe receiving his marching orders before Wickham dispatched the late penalty under Mannion.

Nine minutes into the five stoppage, goalkeeper Mannion popped up with a fierce header from a corner but was denied by the reflexes of McGee. The rollercoaster ended here as Bonner’s men yet again saw a share of the spoils snatched from them at the death.

Up next, the U’s honour long-servant Greg Taylor with his testimonial match on Tuesday evening (6th December) as they pit their wits against his boyhood team West Ham United at the Abbey Stadium – please consider buying a ticket to show your support.


Forest Green Rovers: McGee, O’Keeffe, Casey, Moore-Taylor (Bunker, 75), Cargill, Boyes, Stevenson, McGeough, Peart-Harris, McAllister (Wickham, 76), March (Matt, 84)

Subs Not Used: Thomas, Hendry, Little, Fiabema

Goalscorers: March (36), Wickham (90+3)

Bookings: Casey, Boyes, O’Keeffe (RED), McGeouch


Cambridge United: Mannion, Williams, Jones, Okedina, Dunk, Digby, Worman, Tracey, Knibbs (Lankester, 62), Brophy (Janneh, 80), Ironside (Smith, 62)

Subs Not Used: Holden, Taylor, Ibsen Rossi, Simper

Goalscorers: Janneh (88)

Bookings: Smith


Referee: James Oldham

Attendance: 2257 (259 away fans)

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account