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Match Reports

U's pick up battling point in Fleetwood

29 January 2022

Match Reports

U's pick up battling point in Fleetwood

29 January 2022

Cambridge United extended their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One to five games with a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood Town…

Wes Hoolahan’s goal direct from a corner gave the U’s the lead at the midway point of the second half, but Paddy Lane struck back less than 10 minutes later to ensure a share of the spoils.

The result means United end January unbeaten in Sky Bet League One with three wins and two draws.

Mark Bonner named three changes to the side that were knocked out of the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday, as Jack Lankester, Wes Hoolahan and Jack Iredale all returned to the starting line-up.

Taking place on a cold, gusty atmosphere by the coast, the home side had the wind behind them in the first half and looked to make the most of it as they reined shots down on Mitov’s goal.

Paddy Lane had their first effort just a minute in, but saw his strike blocked behind by Okedina for a corner. Josh Harrop’s debut for Fleetwood was fleeting, as he was forced off with injury after just two minutes.

The home side should have taken the lead five minutes in as Clarke’s back-post run from a Fleetwood corner went unchecked, leading to a free header from just a few yards out, which Mitov managed to prevent from finding the net.

Fleetwood were clearly looking to test Mitov with high winds behind them on a bobbly pitch, but were faced up against an in-form goalkeeper in Mitov who judged a well-hit strike from Andrews well to turn it away.

United’s best attacking moment came 13 minutes in as Digby drove the team forward before Hoolahan played in Brophy, who took it past his man and to the by-line, before seeing his cross for Smith cut out just in the nick of time.

In a game that lacked quality throughout much of it, Carl Johnston showed some just after the half hour mark with a teasing delivery that just avoided two Cod front-men before landing just past the post.

There was a real moment danger for the U’s on 38 minutes as Shayden Morris beat Dunk to a loose ball in the middle of the park, allowing him to him run through into Mivo’s area, but his cross was well defended by Iredale who inadvertently deflected the ball into the safe hands of his goalkeeper.

May was booked a couple of minutes later for preventing Harrison from breaking into the U’s half with a trip from behind, as the hosts looked like the most likely scorers at that stage of the match.

Just before the half though, Williams forced Cairns into his first save of the game, as the full-back cut inside to strike towards goal on his left-foot. Despite initially fumbling the stop, the Fleetwood goalkeeper managed to get back on top of the ball before Smith could turn in the rebound.

The two sides went in level at the break after a largely attritional first half of football.

Dunk almost got the U’s off to a flyer to start the second half, as Brophy’s deft pass found his inside run before the full-back in his testimonial year unleashed a powerful effort that stung the palms of Cairns.

Although chances continued to come at a premium, United had more control of the contest after the break and with the wind in their favour, asked more questions of the Fleetwood defence.

On 66 minutes, the breakthrough came and unsurprisingly, it came from a set piece as Hoolahan’s corner caught everyone out to find the net at the near-post, for his first goal of the season.

Fleetwood came back strong though and got the equaliser seven minutes later through Paddy Lane, who struck a fine hit from 20 yards to beat Mitov and find the top corner.

It was opportunity missed for United with just over 10 minutes remaining, as Brophy burst through the centre of the pitch to leave a two-on-one in United’s favour as he offloaded the ball to Hoolahan, but the Irishman went for an instant return pass which was cut-out by the lone Fleetwood defender.

When Okedina fouled Pilkington from 25 yards it presented Fleetwood captain and free-kick specialist Andrew the opportunity to do what he does best, but he was unable to keep the ball down as the U’s breathed a sigh of relief.

With time ticking down, the home side appeared nervous in their possession at the back and United almost pounced as they won the ball back high up the pitch before Hoolahan fed Digby, who could have scored his second of the week but fired right down the throat of Cairns.

There was to be one final chance for the home side to take all three points, but Harrison's goalbound shot deflected off Pilkinton and landed just the wrong side of the post. Next up, United head back up to the North West on Tuesday night to face Bolton Wanderers.

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