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Report: Cambridge United 0-4 Barnsley

3 October 2023

Club News

Report: Cambridge United 0-4 Barnsley

3 October 2023

A tough evening at the Abbey Stadium saw Barnsley consign Cambridge United to a 0-4 defeat to terminate their three-game unbeaten run on home soil in Sky Bet League One...

Strikes in the first half from Nicky Cadden and Mael De Gevigney gave the U’s work to do, who couldn’t muster up a consolation as the Tykes went from strength to strength to put the game to bed courtesy of Max Watters’ drilled finish and Jon Russell’s late curler.

The clash under the lights was certainly poised well, with United boasting the joint-best defence in the league after shipping just seven goals – they had also lost just one of their opening five at CB5. As for the Tykes, they were unbeaten on home soil and made the journey to Cambridgeshire as the division’s leading goalscorers.

Following the valiant stalemate against Derby County three days earlier, Mark Bonner opted to make three changes to his starting XI. Jubril Okedina and John-Kymani Gordon stepped in for their first league starts of the campaign, whilst Gassan Ahadme returned to the attacking ranks.

The U’s early promise was undone on the 7th minute when Corey O’Keeffe switched play with a delightful cross to Cadden down the left, who struck a venomous shot into the bottom right corner from just inside the box.

The early pressure from the visitors persisted, with Devante Cole pulling back to strike partner Watters on 15, whose effort was well blocked before O’Keeffe received the same fate in the follow up.

Showing some industry, James Brophy drove into the box a couple of minutes later and almost helped carve out the equaliser after he cut back to an open Jack Lankester from 12 yards, whose attempt was expertly stopped by Liam Roberts, who was then brave to deny a looming Gordon and Ahadme.

After rapidly turning defence into attack on the 27th minute, Hungarian international Callum Styles picked his spot from just under 25 yards, which nestled just wide of Will Mannion’s left post.

It would prove to be a tricky route back into the game for the hosts after Barnsley doubled their lead five minutes later after a corner was cleared by a U’s man, only to bounce back to De Gevigney and unfortunately ricochet into the net.

One-way traffic ensued for a short period, but United generated some momentum in the latter stages. After previously threatening through Michael Morrison’s presence and Paul Digby’s shot in the box, they worked up an excellent attempt on the 44th minute when the dangerous Brophy knocked it back to Ahadme, whose powerful attempt was matched by Roberts’ one-handed save. Play was recycled, allowing George Thomas to strike another clean one, but again it landed in the gloves of the goalkeeper.

All in all, the Tykes’ tempo was a tough one to match, with the second goal clearly a killer. In search of a consolation and starting on the front foot, the U’s provided their best opportunity of the evening when Digby won the ball in the middle of the park, scampered into the final third and teed up Brophy to his left, who powerfully struck from close range but it was straight at Roberts. Eventually landing to Danny Andrew, the full-back curled inches wide of the mark.

Just after United had a penalty appeal turned down on 58, Neill Collins’ men added a third when Styles picked out Watters with a neat through ball, allowing the striker to race and hit a first time low attempt goal-bound.

From here, the encounter petered out, with both sides making their five substitutions apiece. Unable to muster up a response, the Tykes capitalised with a fourth on the 82nd minute through Russell, who curled home after touching down Josh Benson’s pass.

The last action of the night fell to substitute John McAtee deep into stoppage time, who raced towards Mannion in a one-on-one position but was strongly denied.

The U’s will be eager to bounce back when they are next in action on Monday night (9th October) when they’ll take on Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium in front of the Sky Sports cameras – be sure to back the boys.

Cambridge United: Mannion, Okedina (L. Bennett, 68’), R. Bennett, Morrison, Andrew, Digby (Cousins, 78’), Thomas (May, 68’), Gordon (Okenabirhie, 69’), Lankester (McConnell, 82’), Brophy, Ahadme

Subs Not Used: Stevens, Ibsen Rossi


Bookings: Morrison, Lankester

Barnsley: Roberts, Williams, De Gevigney, McCart (Shepherd, 68’), Russell, O’Keeffe (Cotter, 74’), Styles (Benson, 74’), Kane, Cadden, Watters (McAtee, 68’), Cole (Cosgrove, 80’)

Subs Not Used: Killip, Dodgson

Goalscorers: Cadden (7’), De Gevigney (32’), Watters (58’), Russell (82’)

Bookings: Styles, Cadden

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 5493 (475 away fans)

Man of the Match: Brophy

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