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Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Colchester United

16 October 2023

Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Colchester United

16 October 2023

Cambridge United look to keep their EFL Trophy dreams alive on Tuesday evening as they welcome Colchester United to the Abbey Stadium for the penultimate Southern Group D clash…

After both suffered defeats in their opening group stage fixtures, both teams are eager chalk the points required to continue their path to Wembley.

How to Watch

Just the Buzz Catering Main Stand will be open for Tuesday night’s encounter, which kicks off at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online at cufctickets.com, with prices ranged at £13 for Adults, £7 for concessions and just £4 for Under 18s.

Unable to attend? By picking up an iFollow Match Pass for £10, you can ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the action.

Alternatively, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire will be on hand to provide their live coverage from CB5.

Opposition Focus

Founded in 1937 after 64 years known as Colchester Town, the Essex-based outfit immediately established themselves as a fierce Southern League outfit before earning Football League status in 1950. The following decade saw the side fluctuate between the Third and Fourth Division, but would go on to enjoy a mazy run to the FA Cup quarter-final in 1970/71. The 90’s kicked off with a short spell in the Conference, but soon returned and plotted a gradual path to the Championship – where they spent two seasons from 2006 to 2008. Now, they’re undergoing their eight campaign in the fourth tier and are eager to find that spark to kick on after previous rankings of 20th, 15th and 20th.

The man tasked with the job is Ben Garner, who certainly knows how to excite with his attacking, possession-based football. Lining up with a 3-4-1-2, he has a knack for developing young and hungry players, which the U’s certainly have at their disposal. With changes anticipated, Tom Smith is likely to keep his place between the sticks, with ever-present Connor Hall possibly lining up alongside Will Greenidge and Charlton Athletic loanee Zach Mitchell. In the middle of the park, Cameron McGeehan is a coup, he may link up with 19-year-old Mauro Bandeira with exciting Noah Chilvers ahead of him, Jayden Fevrier and Al-Amin Kazeem supplying the ammunition from the wing and Joe Taylor, Samson Tovide or Bradley Ihionvien in the striking department. The youthful squad require time to grow, but potential is certainly there.

A slow start saw the visitors taste defeat in their opening three, but they did lose one in their next four from here – picking up a valuable 0-3 triumph at Gillingham, a 2-0 win against Tranmere Rovers and a creditable draw vs Mansfield Town. However, in their previous five games, they’ve lost four – bar a topsy-turvy 5-4 thriller against Notts County, they’ve been off the pace of late and succumbed to a 5-0 thrashing at Forest Green Rovers at the weekend. Languishing in 22nd in League Two, Colchester have shipped 25 goals overall and hope to use this EFL Trophy game as a springboard.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: DDLLD

Colchester United: LWLLL

United’s Approach

The U’s will be determined to generate some momentum and put to an end a seven-game winless run in all competitions after being forced into a 1-1 share of the spoils against Shrewsbury Town last time out.

After an evenly-matched hour of football, a moment of magic from captain Michael Morrison mid-way through the second half looked destined to be a worthy matchwinner, but a moment where United switched off in the dying embers proved costly as Taylor Perry snatched home to grab a point apiece.

Assessing the draw, Mark Bonner acknowledged: “If you look at the balance of the game, a draw is probably the right result, but when you’re 1-0 up with a few minutes to go, you’ve got to get the maximum. We’re kicking ourselves, because the moment that we concede the goal is just a really poor situation.”

Although the result ensured the losing streak was tarnished, it at the same time extends the run without victory – with the early September success over Reading the last win tasted. The U’s sit in 17th with a seven-point advantage from the drop and just two separating them from the top ten.

In regards to team news, the Head Coach has revealed that at least eight changes will be ringed, with those on the fringes - as well as the returning Adam May, Jordan Cousins and Saikou Janneh – are primed to start.

Head-to-Head

Cambridge United Wins: 24

Colchester United Wins: 20

Draws: 9

Down Memory Lane

The familiar foes will meet for the first time since January 2021, when a tight 1-1 draw was played out during the behind-closed-doors, promotion-winning campaign.

Both sides scrapped it out on a soggy and snow-effected surface in Essex, with Harvey Knibbs scoring his first league goal of the campaign for United before a deflected Callum Harriott shot shortly before half-time meant the spoils were shared.

After witnessing his side continue their unbeaten start to the year, Bonner said: “This was a day for attitude, you could easily come here get beat, not turn up, and turn your nose up at it, but we haven’t got that group of players… I think it’s a brilliant point.”

The form guide between the pair of U’s is significantly more stronger for Cambridge – they’re now unbeaten in four and have lost just one in six at the Abbey against the men in blue and white.

Officials

Referee: Jamie O’Connor

Assistant Referee: Garry Maskell

Assistant Referee: Michael Webb

Fourth Official: Chris Pollard


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