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Match Previews

Match Preview: Stevenage vs U's

26 February 2024

Match Previews

Match Preview: Stevenage vs U's

26 February 2024

Cambridge United aim to kick-start an upsurge in form in Sky Bet League One as they make the short trip to the Lamex Stadium to take on Stevenage in midweek…

The U’s approach the rearranged fixture off the back of successive defeats, but they’ll look to use their improved form on the road – which has seen them lose just once in the league in 2024 – to their advantage. In their way, a rejuvenated Boro outfit who remain firmly in the play-off hunt after returning to winning ways last time out.

How to Watch

United will be playing in-front of a sold-out away end during Tuesday evening’s tie in Hertfordshire, which gets underway at 19:45pm. A full allocation of 1,386 tickets were snapped up in rapid time, therefore fans are advised not to travel without a match ticket.

Fans in the UK or abroad who are unable to attend can ensure that they don’t miss a kick of the action by purchasing an iFollow Match Pass – passes cost £10 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Opposition Focus

Founded in 1976 following the demise of the town’s former club, Stevenage began as a United Counties League club, but progress was skyrocketed in the early 1990s thanks to three promotions in four seasons. Despite winning the Conference National in 1996, they were denied entry due to insufficient ground facilities – they eventually fulfilled that dream for good in 2009/10, however. The two-time FA Trophy winners are now back in League One following nine years away thanks to the guidance of Evans, who transformed the club by preventing relegation and masterminding a 2nd place finish last season. Well-equipped, optimism is in the air that Boro can go from strength to strength – they refuse to be written off.

Successful thanks to their physicality and ball-winning approach, the set of battering rams are both equally effective out of possession as well as on it, with a technical side they can implement at the flick of a switch. Able to suffocate an opponent via a 4-3-1-2 or a three-at-the-back setup, goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond has accumulated 11 clean sheets already and has a dependable unit in Dan Butler, Terence Vancooten, the imperious Carl Piergianni and long-serving Luther Wildin ahead of him. With an array of experienced midfielders at their disposal, Nick Freeman, Louis Thompson and Jake Forster-Caskey are all-action and tricky to break down, whereas Manchester City loanee Finley Burns plays with maturity at 20. Jordan Roberts has been integral during the club’s rise, his versatility means he’ll be behind either the know-how of Kane Hemmings, the imposing Vadaine Oliver or Jamie Reid – the division’s joint-top goalscorer.

As far as starts to League One life goes, Boro set off in dominant fashion by registering three wins on the spin. A 2-0 defeat to Reading four games in proved to be just the slightest of blips, as they then ventured on a five-game unbeaten run to cement their early play-off charge. Three losses from four followed, where they shipped nine in the process, but again Evans’ men refused to shy away as they went another nine matches without defeat – which included four successive wins during November. A slender New Year’s Day loss to pack leaders Portsmouth was backed up by a trio of victories over Shrewsbury Town, Wigan Athletic and Blackpool, but most recently they registered the solitary point from a possible 12 prior to the visit of Wycombe Wanderers on the weekend, who they dispatched 1-0 to remain hot on the heels of the top six pack.

Form Guide

Stevenage: LDLLW

Cambridge United: LLWLL

United’s Approach

Despite a committed approach, the anticipated Cambridgeshire Derby ended in defeat for the U’s on Saturday as Peterborough United took the points at the Cledara Abbey courtesy of a 0-1 success.

Throughout the 90 minutes, the hosts remained compact and defended resolutely whenever called upon, whilst at the other end they pressed from the front and generated some good opportunities despite clear quality lacking from both sides. Minutes into the second half, Ephron Mason-Clark’s cross from wide managed to creep into the corner – an unfortunate goal to concede, particularly as it separated the sides.

Reflecting on the afternoon, Barry Corr stated: “You never want to lose any football match, especially against your local rivals, but you can’t fault the efforts of the players. They put everything into the game.”

With their rivals around them also dropping points, the gap from the bottom four remains at five points in spite of four defeats from five. Nonetheless, United have enjoyed playing away from home recently, registering just the one loss from four. One of five sides situated on 38 points, they’ll be determined to take something from this game in hand to shoot up the division.

Head-to-Head

Stevenage Wins: 14

Cambridge United Wins: 11

Draws: 5

Down Memory Lane

It was Boro who forced United to suffer their first defeat of the season back on a warm August evening, as a bumper crowd in CB5 saw the visitors come away with a 1-2 win.

The U’s had work to do for the majority of the contest after Roberts poked home on the stroke of the half an hour mark. Although they levelled ten minutes from time through Elias Kachunga’s first goal in amber, a rapid response from Reid secured maximum points.

It’s fair to say that Stevenage have become a bogey side for United over recent years, with Tuesday’s hosts coming into the encounter off the back of five successive wins, with four clean sheets – and delaying a promotion party - in that time. Prior to that, the U’s registered a seven-game unbeaten run and hope that kind of form can be rekindled as the third tier outfits do battle once more.

Officials

Referee: Alex Chilowicz

Assistant Referee: Daniel D’Urso

Assistant Referee: Declan O’Shea

Fourth Official: Ravel Cheosiaua

 


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