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Club News

Match Preview: U's vs Stevenage

13 August 2023

Club News

Match Preview: U's vs Stevenage

13 August 2023

Cambridge United look to keep the momentum flowing in Sky Bet League One when they welcome Stevenage to a bumper Abbey Stadium on Tuesday evening...

Morale could not be stronger in both camps heading into the anticipated encounter. Mark Bonner’s men and Steve Evans’ newcomers are two of just four sides who still retain a 100% record in the league without conceding.

How to Watch

Demand is understandably high for the midweek clash in CB5, which gets underway at 7:45pm. Although limited, tickets are still available for fans to buy online at cufctickets.com.

Please note that the Newmarket Road End and Intelligent Membranes North Habbin are now sold out, with only singles left in the Main Stand, Please book your tickets in advance to secure your place.

For further updates regarding sales, make sure you keep your notifications on for the Ticket Office Twitter account.

For fans unable to make the game, Tuesday's clash is the first fixture of the season that is available for domestic streaming. Buy an iFollow Match Pass for £10 and watch the U's from the comfort of your home.

Opposition Focus

Founded in 1976 following the demise of the town’s former club, Stevenage began as a United Counties League club but progress was skyrocketed in the early 1990's thanks to three promotions in four seasons. Despite winning the Conference National in 1996, they were denied entry due to insufficient ground facilities – they eventually fulfilled that dream for good in 2009/10, however. The two-time FA Trophy winners are now back in League One following nine years away thanks to the guidance of Steve Evans, who transformed the club from 21st to 2nd last season. Well-equipped, the aim is not to just survive, but thrive.

Already surpassing double figures for summer signings, the experienced Evans has added vast third tier experience to his group, as well as loan additions for promising goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi and Manchester City centre-back Finley Burns, who both could start following consecutive clean sheets. Mainstay captain Carl Piergianni is a rock at the back, but also very prolific in the opposing area – he bagged seven league goals in 2022/23 and has already got off the mark. Former Peterborough United player Dan Butler dons the flanks with the reliable Luther Wildin – the former Antigua and Barbuda international has amassed over 200 appearances for Boro. Louis Thompson, Jake Forster-Caskey and Alex MacDonald are the engines in the middle, their combative nature frees up space for Jordan Roberts to roam and link play with hustling forwards Josh March, Aaron Pressley and last season’s top goalscorer Jamie Reid. The compact and direct 3-5-2 is already proving a tough nut to crack.

The visitors are in a rich vein of form which show no signs of stopping thanks to their ability to manage games. Oozing with confidence from the get go - helped by a solid pre-season schedule which was concluded by triumphs against Ipswich Town and a Tottenham Hotspur XI - they limited opening day opponents Northampton Town to little, increasing pressure by the minute and gaining a deserved 1-0 courtesy of Piergianni before dumping a strong Watford side out of the Carabao Cup on penalties. Last time out, they physically imposed themselves on Shrewsbury Town, dominated possession and the attempts, which were snatched at by Pressley and Reid at the death. A gung-ho start to proceedings awaits for the early strong starters.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: WLWLW

Stevenage: WWWWW

United’s Approach

The U’s return to home surroundings in fine fettle following a complete away performance at Fleetwood Town last weekend, where they registered a comprehensive 0-2 success – their first ever at Highbury.

Well worthy of their clean sheet after surrendering nothing in defence, whilst looking relentless on the counter attack – United generated a plethora of chances which resulted in well-worked goals from Paul Digby and Gassan Ahadme.

Extremely satisfied with the success, Bonner said: “I thought it was a brilliant performance really. Really dogged in terms of the way in which we defended, counter-attacked well, really good aggression, showed good emotion and temperament in the game.

“We’ve got two really tough ones coming up next week at home so we’ve got to get ready for them now… there’ll be an expectation on us, but Stevenage are on the bounce of a new season and started well.”

Two from their opening two – something they haven’t achieved since returning to League One – four goals scored and yet to concede. The mantra now is how long can they retain the perfect record? For now, the U’s are happy to go under the radar, but if they can continue this performance level then people will soon start taking note.

For all of the latest views and team news, be sure to tune into the Head Coach’s pre-match press conference, which will be published on United’s YouTube channel on Monday afternoon.

Head-to-Head

Cambridge United Wins: 11

Stevenage Wins: 13

Draws: 5

Down Memory Lane

Fans of the U’s and Boro have been treated to some memorable encounters over the years, so it’s an exciting prospect that the local clash returns after a two-year hiatus – particularly now that the former non-league foes gear up to do battle together for the first time as third level outfits.

The visitors will look back on their last couple of visits to Cambridgeshire fondly. Just a year after slumping to a torrid 0-4 defeat, the U’s had the chance to gain promotion on home soil in April 2021, but Luke Norris’ header forced them to wait another day.

The last four meetings have dished up four Stevenage wins and clean sheets - but on a much brighter note, the U’s just lost the once from the previous ten encounters. Undoubtedly, the most memorable meeting between the sides from a United point ov view came almost 15 years ago when Scott Rendell’s 119th minute strike took the roof off the Abbey and completed a thrilling 4-3 comeback on aggregate to send his side to the Blue Square Premier play-off final at Wembley.

Officials

Referee: Will Finnie

Assistant Referee: Oliver Bickle

Assistant Referee: Declan O’Shea

Fourth Official: Carl Brook


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