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Club News

Report: Cambridge United 4-1 Spurs U21s

7 November 2023

Club News

Report: Cambridge United 4-1 Spurs U21s

7 November 2023

Cambridge United bowed out of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy after concluding their 2023/24 campaign with an impressive 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur U21s at the Abbey Stadium…

A promising first-half performance saw the U’s head into the break a goal to the good following Kai Yearn’s close-range volley. Saikou Janneh got off the mark for the campaign moments into the second period after capping off a fine counter-attack, before Will Lankshear drilled home to reduce Spurs’ deficit. Concluding in the ascendency, late strikes from Jack Lankester and Lewis Simper helped stretch the unbeaten run to five in all competitions as the hosts exited in style.

Although slim, the hosts approached the encounter knowing progression to the knockout stages was still possible, but a high-scoring win was the minimum requirement following back-to-back defeats. As for the north London outfit, they’d attained three points and had plundered six goals, so victory essentially would secure their passage.

Following the FA Cup success against Bracknell Town on the same turf three days prior, Mark Bonner rotated his XI by naming ten changes, with just John-Kymani Gordon keeping his place. George Scales made his first professional appearance, Glenn McConnell his first start in amber and Brandon Haunstrup and Yearn were chosen from the get go for the first time this campaign. A youthful bench saw five Academy prospects all itching to receive their maiden minutes.

Spurs, flying high at the top of the Premier League 2 table with eight victories from eight, started with exuberance and mustered the first attempt after three minutes when Brooklyn Lyons-Foster sliced against the side netting following a succession of corners.

The U’s had great energy about themselves too, pressing well and engineering a decent opportunity two minutes later when Gordon, playing the lone striker role, teed up Yearn in the area who briefly twisted and turned before curling over the crossbar.

Goalmouth action was then at a premium until a five-minute salvo from the 18th minute onwards when Jubril Okedina did well to direct two separate headers in the area - with the first importantly blocked before it could head on target and the other one flying wide of the post – before a strong press dispossessed the visitors and fed Gordon, who pulled the trigger from 20 yards but was matched by Josh Keeley, who dived low to his right to save.

Dictating play and enjoying a sustained spell of possession, United recycled all over the park with some clever switches on 37, allowing Gordon to pick out a delivery from the left which floated to a looming McConnell from 15 yards whose first-time volley was high and wide.

The U’s crafted a deserved breakthrough on the 40th minute when an excellent move from Haunstrup saw him exchange passes with Saikou Janneh during a buccaneering run into the box, before picking out an exquisite delivery to former England youth international Yearn who fired past Nile John and wheeled away.

Moments before the interval, Tottenham briefly had the ball in the back of the net following a string of headers in the six-yard box, but it was ruled out for offside from the linesman as the young U’s protected their lead heading into the second half.

Out of the blocks on the front foot, the lead was doubled on the 52nd minute when, minutes after drilling a vicious shot at Keeley, Janneh made no mistake after Gordon scampered into space in the final third and picked out the Gambian to his left, who composed himself and fired home.

Continuing their authoritative manner, Simper – one of ten Academy products in the squad – almost killed the game just after the hour mark after he was handed a quickfire double attempt, with the first requiring a stern stop.

The tide began to turn from here, with Spurs receiving their best chance in some time on 68 when Lankshear was released, but a critical sliding interception from Jubril Okedina put to an end the attack.

Four minutes later, Wayne Burnett’s men conjured back a goal when Jamie Donley picked out Lankshear, who from a tight angle expertly finished into the opposite corner.

On the 82nd minute, Donley was agonisingly close to equalising after he was picked out from ten yards but drilled just past Will Mannion’s right stick.

Either side of under 18 prospects Ronan Ismaili and Amaru Kaunda entering CB5 for the first time as a professional, the tie was killed as Janneh set up Lankester, who gave Keeley no chance as he unleashed a super curler.

The last action of an entertaining evening of football resulted in the fourth as Simper got on the end of Mamadou Jobe’s powerful header to poke home on the line. United vied for another, which would have left them fighting another day in the EFL Trophy, but they exited with their heads held high following a commendable display.

Up next, it’s the highly-anticipated Cambridgeshire derby on Saturday afternoon (11th November) as the U’s make the short journey to London Road to do battle with Peterborough United.

 

Cambridge United: Mannion, Scales, Okedina, Jobe, Haunstrup, Simper, Yearn (Ismaili, 86’), McConnell, Lankester, Janneh, Gordon (Kaunda, 89’)

Subs Not Used: Briggs, Ewens-Findlay, Staszewski

Goalscorers: Yearn (40’), Janneh (52’), Lankester (86’), Simper (90+1’)

Bookings: Lankester, McConnell

 

Tottenham Hotspur U21s: Keeley, Ashcroft (Ajayi, 59’), Dorrington, Lyons-Foster, Sayers, Abbott, John, Hall (Cassanova, 63’), Soonsup-Bell (Robson, 76’), Donley, Lankshear

Subs Not Used: Gunter, Kyerematen, Williams

Goalscorers: Lankshear (72’)

Bookings: Donley

 

Referee: Jacob Miles

Attendance: 1311 (180 away fans)

Man of the Match: Yearn


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