Report: Cambridge United 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers

Cambridge United’s fight to retain their Sky Bet League One status will go down to the final day for the second season running as they were forced into a 1-1 draw against Wycombe Wanderers at the Cledara Abbey Stadium…

With the opportunities flying throughout an end-to-end encounter, it was the hosts who crucially drew first blood mid-way through the second half thanks to Gassan Ahadme’s expert header. Unable to preserve their lead, Luke Leahy equalised from the spot late in the evening to grab a point and ensure more work for the U’s.

The permutations were simple for the hosts heading into the last match at CB5 – two points from their remaining two would be enough to tie in a fourth successive season in the third tier, although even that may not be needed if results went against fellow battlers Cheltenham Town. Determined to do it on their own accord, the task was to conclude the CB5 fixtures with a first win in five. In their way, a Chairboys side who had concluded in fine form, making the journey with a five-game unbeaten run behind them.

In response to the slender defeat against Derby County three days earlier, Garry Monk freshened up his side once more as he made three enforced changes. Trio of defenders Zeno Ibsen Rossi, Ryan Bennett and Danny Andrew all missed out owing to injuries and illness, with Jubril Okedina – the only recognised centre-back in the squad - James Brophy and Sullay Kaikai taking their place.

Starting in the ascendency, United generated an excellent chance on the 5th minute when Brophy won the ball down the left and directed a pinpoint delivery towards a leaping Ahadme, who craned his neck to get the venom, but not the accuracy as it lashed against the side netting.

A scare was dealt five minutes later when the imposing Nigel Lonwijk got on the end of Luke Leahy’s whipped delivery, with his header continuously looping before settling on the roof of the crossbar.

The attempts on target kept falling the way of the Chairboys within the opening stages, who as the game progressed continued to find and utilise space. Jason McCarthy tested his luck on the 20th minute with a long-range effort, but Will Mannion was there to calmly dive and claim.

Nonetheless, the hosts continued to chip away and went closer and closer every time they entered the final third. On the stroke of the half an hour mark, Kaikai’s deep cross was met by the lively Ahadme in the six-yard box, but it could only bounce off him and out for a goal kick.

Up the other end, Kieran Sadlier’s speculative 20-yard attempt looked to be a well-taken opener, only to be denied by an excellent full-stretch stop from Mannion to his right.

Agonisingly close to a much-needed goal, the U’s rued the golden moment of the half on 37 when Brophy cleaned up a loose ball on the flank and picked out an onrushing Ahadme, who got a boot on it but a slender deflection diverted it inches wide of the post.

Petering out towards the break, a stalemate beckoned with all still very much to play for thanks to an open half.

Ten minutes into the second period Wycombe threatened with a quickfire set of attempts from Josh Scowen. First, the midfielder got on the end of a physical battle in the box to flick a header at Mannion, before a corner was recycled to him from distance where he clattered the stanchion.

A huge chance went begging on the 65th minute for Monk’s men when Elias Kachunga battled valiantly to win the ball back from the Chairboys’ defence, before teeing up Macauley Bonne who from a matter of yards couldn’t pass Franco Ravizzoli.

A few minutes later, the U’s sparked ecstasy and took the roof off the ground after drawing first blood. A delightful cross from the energetic Liam Bennett was emphatically picked out by the head of Ahadme, with his trademark finish hitting the crossbar, bouncing on the line and creeping in.

In response, United contended well and looked strong preserving the lead, but were dealt a real sucker punch when Wycombe were awarded a penalty ten minutes from time – which they dispatched via Leahy.

Despite endeavour during the additional seven minutes, the sides couldn’t be separated on a frustrating night for Cambridge, who simply must keep their heads held high and focused on what is poised to be a make-or-break weekend.

Up next, the curtains close on the 2023/24 campaign on Saturday (27th April) at Vale Park as the U’s entertain relegated Port Vale – be sure to back the boys and show your support one final time.


Cambridge United: Mannion, Okedina, Digby, Gibbons, L. Bennett, Cousins, Kaikai (Lankester, 75’), Brophy, Kachunga, Ahadme (Taylor, 75’), Bonne (Okenabirhie, 75’)

Subs Not Used: Chadwick, May, Simper, Hoddle

Goalscorers: Ahadme (71’)

Bookings: Okedina, Gibbons


Wycombe Wanderers: Ravizzoli, McCarthy, Lonwijk, Forino-Joseph, Leahy, Butcher, Potts (Taylor, 76’), Scowen, McCleary (Wheeler, 70’), Sadlier (Kodua, 86’), Vokes (Kone, 76’)

Subs Not Used: Sheppard, Tafazolli, Low

Goalscorers: Leahy (81’)



Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 6081 (273 away fans)