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Match Reports

U's stand firm to pick up massive win in Accrington

29 April 2023

Match Reports

U's stand firm to pick up massive win in Accrington

29 April 2023

Cambridge United gained three precious Sky Bet League One points as they edged out relegation rivals Accrington Stanley 1-2 at the Wham Stadium...

Following a cagey introduction, the U’s gained the opener on the stroke of the break through the man for the big occasion, Harrison Dunk, who stabbed home. During a rampant period on the hour mark, they capitalised when it mattered through George Thomas, whose cool finish meant that Aaron Pressley’s penalty would prove to be just a consolation, with the visitors leaving Lancashire knowing destiny is in their own hands.

Under no illusions, the final week of the 2022/23 season would be a monumental one for both Accrington and the U’s, who sat in 22nd and 23rd respectively. The hosts had lost eight of their previous nine prior to a morale-boosting midweek victory, whereas the visitors were eager to bridge the three-point gap by returning to winning ways.

In response to the defeat at title-chasing Plymouth Argyle a week earlier, Mark Bonner named two changes to his XI - re-introducing Harrison Dunk and Jack Lankester to the fold as he tinkered with formation to attack the game.

Buoyed by exceptional backings from all four corners of the ground, the encounter started in a cagey manner, with the outfits biding time to find their feet.

The first opportunity fell the way of the U’s on the 7th minute when an excellent one-two and cross from the right by James Brophy floated to Sam Smith who, from inside the area, headed at the gloves of Lukas Jensen.

Attempting to utilise their strength in the air, the hosts remained a handful. They conjured up a scare on 13 when Doug Tharme’s long throw found its way to Sean McConville, who picked out a clean volley towards goal but the lack of pace meant it was meat and drink for an alert Dimitar Mitov.

Scampering into the final third, Liam Bennett teed up Brophy five minutes later, who executed a defence-splitting pass to Harvey Knibbs, with the attacker matching and directing an attempt from close range which forced a corner.

Mitov dealt with a close shave on the eve of the half an hour mark when McConville’s cross was headed towards the roof of the net by Pressley, with the Bulgarian catching before it could creep in.

A sense of déjà vu occurred moments later when the same provider picked out Stanley’s number 20, whose header arrowed agonisingly wide thanks to a vital United deflection.

After claiming in a useful area, Brophy cut inside and picked his spot after space opened up on 37, rifling an attempt inches past Jensen’s right post.

With half time looming, United clawed the opener they craved when Conor McGrandles’ corner invitingly fell to Dunk who was in the right place at the right time to stab under the crossbar and hand his men an invaluable goal.

Coming out of the blocks firing, the men in blue went close on several attempts through McGrandles on 48, whose low drove from the edge of the six-yard box was stopped by the legs of Jensen, and Brophy, who laced towards goal but was denied by Tharme’s header near the line.

Just two minutes after coming on, Thomas capitalised on the dominant surge by scoring his first in United colours after being played in down the left from Knibbs, before showing immense composure to slot towards the corner to produce pandemonium.

Roaring them on at every moment, the encounter was almost out of sight on 75 when Fejiri Okenabirhie’s venomous strike sailed over the crossbar, before Thomas was unlucky not to grab his brace after an excellent Jensen save from a matter of yards denied him.

On 81, Stanley were awarded a penalty after Michael Morrison tripped Shaun Whalley. Remaining composed, Pressley lashed at the post, which creeped in past a helpless Mitov.

Cooking up a storm, John Coleman’s men forced a goal line scramble in the dying embers of stoppage time, with what seemed a plethora of shots blocked with last-ditched denials from the committed U’s, who had done enough to secure a significant three points and ensure a key stride towards their safety attempts.

Up next, United make their final journey of the League One season on Wednesday night (3rd May) when they travel to the Pirelli Stadium to do battle with Burton Albion. Whatever way you can, be sure to back the boys.


Accrington Stanley: Jensen, Rodgers, Nottingham, Tharme, Conneely (Coyle, 20’), Clark, Martin (Whalley, 70’), Hamilton, McConville (Longelo, 46’), Lowe (Butler-Oyedeji, 46’), Pressley

Subs Not Used: Savin, Sangare, Nolan

Goalscorers: Pressley (82’)

Bookings: Coyle


Cambridge United: Mitov, L. Bennett, Morrison, R. Bennett, Dunk, Digby, McGrandles, Brophy (Seddon, 87’), Lankester (Thomas, 61’), Knibbs (Okenabirhie, 72’), Smith (Ironside, 87’)

Subs Not Used: Mannion, O’Neil, Okedina

Goalscorers: Dunk (43’), Thomas (63’)

Bookings: Lankester, Digby


Referee: Rebecca Welch

Attendance: 4484 (652 away fans)



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