Mark Bonner’s men will roll their sleeves up and go again on Saturday afternoon when Cambridge United take on Charlton Athletic at the Abbey Stadium...
With the 2022/23 campaign approaching its final 10 matches, the U’s, who are winless in five, need to reignite their goalscoring touch and deliver points on a consistent basis - starting against the Addicks, who were also without victory in five prior to a midweek thrashing at Morecambe that has instilled belief for Dean Holden’s group.
How to Watch
Saturday afternoon’s clash kicks off at 3pm and tickets available for fans to buy online at cufctickets.com. Another impressive CB5 crowd awaits, with seats in the Main Stand extremely limited and space in the Newmarket Road End and North Habbin filling up fast.
By securing your ticket well in advance, you’ll avoid disappointment and save money, as all prices increase by £2 when buying in-person on the day of the game.
Overseas fans can stream the game live with an iFollow Match Pass. Match Passes cost £10 and are available to purchase by clicking here. Elsewhere, domestic supporters who can’t make it to the Abbey can listen to live match commentary on iFollow..
Blessed with a turbulent history, former FA Cup winners and Premier League furniture Charlton Athletic have fluctuated throughout the Football League following their 2007 demotion and are now in a period of consolidation under Holden, who aims to slowly work the Addicks up the ladder once more. With pride to play for in the remainder of the campaign, they hope to lay the foundations ahead of their fourth season in the third tier.
Maintaining play-off credentials throughout a steady opening few months, the Addicks’ opening four saw them pick up seven points as they impressively dispatched Derby County 1-0 and battered Plymouth Argyle 5-1. Although a winless run of eight games followed, where six resulted in a share of the spoils, promising form on home soil helped record three consecutive triumphs. The final victory, 0-1 at Shrewsbury Town in late October, proved to be their final one of 2022, as a testing conclusion plummeted them down the division. Four wins in their next five - where in that period they bowed out of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford in the quarter-final stage - raised morale, but that was dampened by the solitary success in seven, where they scored one in five prior to Tuesday. The rot was terminated in midweek, as a comprehensive 1-4 overpowering at Morecambe increased morale and ascended Holden’s to the top half of the table.
Favouring a 4-2-3-1 formation, which encourages creativity and covers the entire pitch, as well as the occasional set-up of his familiar 3-5-2 to shore things up, Holden has the right players to facilitate either, with some dangerous players at his disposal. Australian Ashley Maynard-Brewer has donned the sticks of late, whereas Sean Clare and Steven Sessegnon have provided energy on the flanks. A new-look defensive heart has seen the talented Lucas Ness complementing former Jamaican international Michael Hector and the astute Ryan Inniss of late, with ever-present George Dobson a vital cog in midfield. Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Corey Blackett-Taylor are menacing prospects from out wide, they’ve combined for 24 goal involvement, whilst Scott Fraser and Jack Payne looks to make things happen for teenager Miles Leaburn and the returning Macauley Bonne.
Cambridge United: LLLDL
Charlton Athletic: LDLDW
In their previous encounter, United sunk to a tight 1-0 defeat at fellow relegation rivals MK Dons at Stadium MK.
Moments after Jack Lankester had a strike ruled out for offside, the visitors were dealt with a sucker-punch when Mo Eisa curled an audacious free-kick home to ultimately separate the sides after the U’s attempts to muster up a response were denied.
The Head Coach’s assessment of the defeat was: “We’re disappointed with our level as the game went on and our inability to create too many good chances… If we want to stay in the league and win games then we’ve got to be better than we were in the second half because that won’t be good enough to do it.
After expending their winless streak to five games, the U’s are consigned to 23rd with a five-point gap from safety and an inferior goal difference to their rivals. With results falling their way in midweek, the opportunity to escape is there if the side can replicate their early-season form and spearhead a winning streak.
For an update on team news and all the views, check out Mark Bonner's pre-match press conference:
Cambridge United Wins: 8
Charlton Athletic Wins: 7
Down Memory Lane
An away day in August saw a gritty U’s side return home from the capital with a handy point following a 1-1 draw.
Despite an evenly-matched first-half, the U’s went into the break a goal down after Scott Fraser headed home from close range. Capitalising on their dominant spell during the hour mark, Harvey Knibbs converted to level matters. A nerve-wracking conclusion dawned, but the visitors stood strong to force a share of the spoils.
Reflecting on the character his side possessed, Bonner said: “Their goal is probably a consequence of pressure and us having to defend diagonals and crosses quite often, but I thought we defended our box well. It’s a killer when that goes in, but I am actually really encouraged by the response of the players. There’s a bouncebackability there, a resilience, which we need.”
United are looking to secure their first victory against Charlton since February 1992, when Tony Dennis’ all-important strike secured the 1-0 success at the Abbey as the hosts went on to secure 5th position, two places and three points above the Addicks.
Referee: Marc Edwards
Assistant Referee: Marc Wilson
Assistant Referee: David Harrison
Fourth Official: Leigh Crowhurst