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Match Report: Cambridge United 2-1 Fleetwood Town

13 January 2024

Club News

Match Report: Cambridge United 2-1 Fleetwood Town

13 January 2024

Cambridge United got up and running in 2024 with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Sky Bet League One opponents Fleetwood Town at the Cledara Abbey Stadium…

After an evenly-matched hour of football, the encounter sprung into life during the latter stages as Lyle Taylor capped his U’s debut by drawing first blood. Although Promise Omochere immediately levelled matters with a close-range header, the hosts kept plugging away and sealed a return to winning ways late in the afternoon as Sullay Kaikai showed excellent composure to secure the points.

Coming into the game off the back of three consecutive defeats, the U’s plotted an upturn in fortunes as they eyed up a hat-trick of victories for the season against the Cod Army, who were winless in 11 in all competitions and desperate to get the ball rolling under Charlie Adam.

In response to the FA Cup defeat at Blackburn Rovers a week earlier, Neil Harris opted with two changes to his starting XI as Michael Morrison returned to captain the side and Elias Kachunga was slotted back into the attacking midfield role after recovering from his hamstring injury. Elsewhere, fresh from signing on Friday afternoon, striker Taylor was placed on the bench.

After the bumper crowd had finally all ascended into the ground ahead of the delayed 3:15pm kick-off, the hosts clearly needed time to bed in as they had to deal with a front-footed approach from Fleetwood.

They registered the first attempt of the afternoon on the 11th minute after wing-back Harry Boyes raced into the final third and teed up Phoenix Patterson, who tried his luck with a curler from outside of the box, but it was well stopped by a diving Jack Stevens.

With the blocks flying in from both sets of players, it remained a very aerially physical opening to proceedings, with little action on the floor and nothing to separate the sides.

The U’s rearguard was handed a slight scare on the half an hour mark when the marauding Boyes worked his way to Callum Dolan whose speculative attempt fizzed just wide of Stevens’ left post.

Undoubtedly the best opportunity of the half fell to Jack Lankester moments before the whistle when he picked his spot from just under 25 yards and almost caught Jay Lynch by surprise, but the goalkeeper got a super paw on it to ensure it rattled against the crossbar.

United hoped to have used this as a catalyst by putting an uninspiring first period with little action behind them, but with the match remaining flat Harris made his first substitution of the day by introducing Taylor for his club debut.

The Cod Army pressed and continued to persevere, this time going close through Josh Vela, who got on the end of Boyes’ deep cross and headed towards the roof of the net, but the number one was on hand to astutely poke it behind for a corner.

With the clash bursting into life, Liam Bennett found space to roam in the opposing half on 60 after a well-worked counter crafted by Kachunga and played it to Lankester with his back to goal, who rapidly turned and pulled the trigger, but it drilled wide of sight.

As the seconds passed, you got the sense that the hosts were building momentum and had the opener in their sights. In the space of one minute, Lankester’s burst into the danger area helped win a corner, before L. Bennett teed up opposite full-back Danny Andrew whose ambitious shot lashed over the crossbar.

The U’s gained their foothold and broke the deadlock on the 70th minute when, virtually moments after leaping from the bench, Brandon Njoku beat his man and danced into the six-yard box – his endeavour helped it kindly fall to a looming Taylor who tapped home from a matter of yards.

Just when their tails were up, Fleetwood fought back with the equaliser seven minutes later when Jayden Stockley crossed to Omochere, who made no mistake with his head to fire past Stevens.

Looking to respond, United went straight down the other end and should have taken their golden chance when a cheeky Kaikai pass set up Taylor down the left, whose low delivery couldn’t be dispatched by Lankester, who scuffed his shot wide.

With time almost up, the U’s were throwing the kitchen sink at their counterparts. After Njoku’s industrious work won a corner, Kaikai’s peach was matched by Ryan Bennett, but the defender couldn’t quite get the accuracy as his header pipped the right post.

In true never-say-die attitude, the hosts continued to battle and were rewarded with a last-gasp winner in stoppage time as livewire Taylor marauded down the right flank and played an effort across the face of goal which was snatched at by Kaikai, who showed superb composure to rifle against the roof of the net, send CB5 into ecstasy and seal three valuable points for the first time in 2024.

The U’s now have a full week to recuperate before they make the mammoth trip down to Devon next Saturday (20th January) to take on Exeter City – be sure to back the boys.


Cambridge United: Stevens, L. Bennett, R. Bennett, Morrison, Andrew, Cousins, Digby, Lankester (Ibsen Rossi, 90+4’), Kachunga (Njoku, 70’ (May 90+4’), Brophy (Taylor, 56’), Kaikai

Subs Not Used: Mannion, Okedina, Janneh

Goalscorers: Taylor (70’), Kaikai (90+1’)



Fleetwood Town: Lynch, Lawal, Heneghan, Earl, Rooney, Sarpong-Wiredu, Dolan (Omochere, 74’), Boyes, Vela, Patterson (Mayor, 71’), Stockley

Subs Not Used: McMullan, Johnston, Marriott, Holgate, Coughlan

Goalscorers: Omochere (77’)

Bookings: Dolan, Heneghan


Referee: Scott Tallis

Attendance: 6555 (104 away fans)

Man of the Match: Taylor

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