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Match Reports

U's fall to second half defeat against the Valiants

22 October 2022

Cambridge United slipped to another frustrating defeat in Sky Bet League One as Port Vale secured a 0-1 victory at the Abbey Stadium...

In an encounter where the U’s failed to conjure up any clear-cut opportunities, they were made to be punished late in the tie after Forrester forced an unfortunate own goal from Paul Digby to consign the hosts to their fifth defeat on the bounce.

Heading into the encounter, United had attained some momentum from their midweek success - and were now eager to build on that and demolish a losing streak stretching back to four league games. In their way, a newly-promoted Valiants side level on points with the hosts and had shown real progression under Darrell Clarke.

Mark Bonner named four changes from the side that dispatched Ipswich Town 1-0 four days earlier - sticking with the 3/5/2 formation as Lloyd Jones, Digby, Harvey Knibbs and Sam Smith returned to the fold.

A high-tempo introduction, where the sides continuously cancelled each other out in the middle of the park, carved its first chance after 4 minutes when Jack Lankester’s excellent inswinger from the right had to be clawed out for a corner from the visiting defence.

Vale, who themselves shuffled their strike options due to the unavailability of James Wilson and Ellis Harrison, carved upon the U’s defence five minutes later thanks to Mipo Odubeko’s through ball. Latching onto it, Gavin Massey unleashed a fierce shot which Will Mannion applaudingly kept out.

Capitalising on momentum accrued from his midweek clean sheet, the number 25 kept out Odubeko’s vicious chance and Gavin Massey’s long-range effort in quick succession during the 20th minute as the Valiants attempted to force the opener.

The chance of the match fell to the way of the U’s on 35 when Knibbs combined well with Lankester – teeing up the latter inside the box who blazed his shot just over substitute goalkeeper Aidan Stone’s crossbar.

Following the break, both sides appeared visibly frustrated after a stop-start spell where neither goalkeeper could be tested. Deciding to tinker with the system, Bonner introduced Fejiri Okenabirhie to the pitch, before deploying Lewis Simper, Shilow Tracey and Joe Ironside shortly after.

After a lengthy period without a clear-cut opportunity, Vale caused a scare on 72 when defender Conor Hall cut inside well and curled an attempt over the crossbar.

United were punished in a cruel manner on the 78th minute when Forrester’s marauding cross from the right was diverted into the net by Digby, who had put a foot out to attempt to clear the ball.

In the dying embers of the tie, Simper met a long throw-in, but struck into a long throw-in a Vale man before firing the rebound wide of the target.

It topped off an agonising afternoon for the hosts, whose turgid losing streak was stretched to five games.

Up next, the U’s make the journey to Adams Park on Tuesday evening (25th October) to take on Wycombe Wanderers in their next League One outing – be sure to back the boys.


Cambridge United: Mannion, Williams, Jones, Taylor (Okenabirhie, 45), Okedina, Digby, O’Neil (Simper, 62), Brophy, Lankester (Tracey, 62), Knibbs (Ironside, 61), Smith

Subs Not Used: Holden, Ibsen Rossi, Worman


Bookings: Simper


Port Vale: Stevens (Stone, 22), Smith, Forrester, Hall, Worrall (Robinson, 71), Pett (Butterworth, 71), Conlon, Benning (Jones, 85), Garrity, Massey (Charsley, 85), Odubeko

Subs Not Used: Cass, Holden

Goalscorers: Digby OG (78’)

Bookings: Worrall,  Massey, Conlon


Referee: Thomas Kirk

Attendance: 6218 (732 away fans)

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