Report: Cambridge United 2-0 Exeter City

Cambridge United secured back-to-back victories at the Abbey Stadium in Sky Bet League One as they registered a well-deserved 2-0 win against Exeter City…

The U’s came out of the blocks firing and took an early lead through the in-form Gassan Ahadme, who found the back of the net for the fourth consecutive game after slotting home from the spot. Remaining in the ascendency throughout, they secured the points late on thanks to Elias Kachunga’s clinical finish, before preserving their ninth clean sheet of the campaign.

Heading into the festive fixture, United were hoping to consolidate their high spirits by extending their unbeaten run to four games, whereas the Grecians – winless in 12 league matches - were desperate to generate some momentum and take a leaf out of the hosts’ book by rekindling their goalscoring touch.

In response to the victory against Blackpool six days prior, Neil Harris felt there was no need to tinker with a winning formula – as the Head Coach named one enforced change as the suspended Paul Digby made way for George Thomas. Elsewhere, James Holden, Ryan Bennett and Glenn McConnell all returned to the matchday squad as they made the bench.

A high tempo start saw the U’s peg their opponents back and cause a scare when Danny Andrew sent a delivery towards Ahadme in the six-yard box, which cued cries of handball but the referee signaled for a foul.

Five minutes later, former Academy prospect Dion Rankine won the ball in the middle of the park and ventured on a blistering run down the right, before thundering a venomous shot at Jack Stevens, who impeccably stopped it at his near post which allowed his defenders to clear up.

Probing for the opener, Andrew was enjoying the freedom in the final third and this time squared to Sullay Kaikai, who touched down the super ball, cut inside and unleashed a curler, but it landed inches wide of Viljami Sinisalo’s right post.

With 15 minutes on the clock, United were handed the opportunity to break the deadlock after George Thomas’ attempt from outside of the area struck the hand of Alex Hartridge. It was that man Ahadme who stepped up, exquisitely placing it into the corner before wheeling away to celebrate his sixth goal from six.

Showing no signs of letting off and very much in the ascendency, winger Kaikai was unlucky not to put his name in the scoresheet on two quickfire occasions on the 20th minute, when a half volley sliced off target before a well-taken header flew just over the crossbar.

As we approached the interval, the Grecians calmed things down, started to grow in confidence and enjoyed their share of the ball, but ultimately it suited the hosts, who were the more inventive in possession and maintained that energy about them.

Persisting to extend their lead, a neat corner from Thomas during additional time presented Jubril Okedina – capping his 100th appearance in amber – with the chance to extend the advantage, but his two attempts to pass a sea of men were blocked.

Early signs indicated that United would enjoy an equally lively second half, as James Brophy picked out a teasing cross which was missed by Sinisalo and met by the head of a leaping Ahadme, but he couldn’t get the angle as it went wide.

Gary Caldwell’s men were aggrieved not to have levelled matters on the 52nd minute when Ilmari Niskanen teed up Yanic Wildschut inside the area, who pulled the trigger but an important deflection cut down the speed as it trickled past Stevens’ post.

Apart from that, it was a really good spell of pressure for the U’s, who in truth were relentless. Brophy almost opened his account for the season moments later when Kaikai played in his wing partner, who from close range struck towards goal but it was straight at a firm Sinisalo.

A double attacking switch from the Devon side gave them some impetus, which they almost capitalised on in the 69th minute after Sonny Cox’ flick required Stevens to rush out and claim the ball.

The U’s introduced Adam May and Jack Lankester to the fold shortly after, who were required to dig in defensively, with Reece Cole testing his luck with a speculative 25-yarder on 82, which Stevens punched clear.

Lankester played a pivotal part in securing the victory for Harris’ men, after the substitute marauded down the right after being released by Thomas, before spinning his man and shooting, which was cleared off the line but fell kindly to Kachunga, who showed great initiative to slot home and ensure the continuation of the positive form heading into Christmas.

Up next, there’s some festive football on Boxing Day (26th December) as the U’s make the journey to Oxford United – be sure to get behind the boys.


Cambridge United: Stevens, L. Bennett, Okedina, Morrison, Andrew, Cousins, Thomas, Kaikai (May, 72’), Kachunga, Brophy (R. Bennett, 88’), Ahadme (Lankester, 72’)

Subs Not Used: Holden, Haunstrup, Gordon, McConnell

Goalscorers: Ahadme (15’), Kachunga (83’)



Exeter City: Sinisalo, Rankine (Cox, 63’), Sweeney, Diabate, Hartridge, Niskanen, Kite, Trevitt (Caroll, 13’), Cole, Taylor (Scott, 63’), Wildschut

Subs Not Used: MacDonald, Aimson, Jules, Richards


Bookings: Carroll, Cole


Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 6157 (298 away fans)

Man of the Match: Andrew