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Club News

MATCH PREVIEW | Cambridge United (H)

31 March 2023

Club News

MATCH PREVIEW | Cambridge United (H)

31 March 2023

On Saturday, Vale face the challenge of Cambridge United at Vale Park as we look to build on last week’s valuable point at Fratton Park.

The U’s are currently in a relegation battle, sitting in 23rd place, whilst Vale are lying 16th in League One.

Here is some interesting pre-match reading before the fascinating clash against United this weekend.

The view from Darrell Clarke:

“We respect the opposition,” said Clarke on Cambridge United.

“It’s always a case of how we perform, how we defend, how we perform with and without the ball, but we also respect every opposition we come up against.”

Opposition Boss’ thoughts:

U’s manager Mark Bonner said: “I think it will be a really interesting game.

“As a first season in the league, I’m sure they [Vale] will be quite pleased to be in a position where there is no drama looking into the final stage of the season.”

Fixture Flashback:

Sky Bet League Two, Vale Park, Saturday 4th August 2018: Port Vale 3-0 Cambridge United

We travel back nearly five years to an emphatic victory over this week’s opposition on the opening day of the 2018/19 season.

Ricky Miller’s first-half free kick sent the Valiants on their way before Tom Pope bagged a brace to secure a 3-0 win and all three points against Cambridge United.

Miller opened the scoring on his debut just before the break, curling a beautiful free kick into the far corner to send Vale Park into raptures.

It didn’t take long for the Vale to further their advantage following the restart with Miller involved once more after he was fouled inside the area after some tidy build-up play with Tom Pope.

Our number nine then stepped up for the spot-kick and rifled it into the back of the net with real velocity to double the Valiants advantage.

Pope secured his brace and the victory when he met a Cristian Montano cross with a downwards header that nestled into the corner to make it 3-0.

Following what was a nervy opening from both sides, James Gibbons’ cross was met by a Pope flick-on, but Rawlinson failed to make clean contact with his half-volley, and it skewed wide of the target from 12 yards.

Pope was the next to go close for the hosts after 34 minutes as he attacked a floated free kick, but he was unable to direct his header from six yards as he attempted to keep his balance.

After the two Vale goals, Pope almost doubled his own tally after 58 minutes, but he could only head Luke Hannant’s pinpoint cross wide.

Cambridge then thought they had pulled a goal back just a minute later, only for Brown to deny Azeez from point-blank range.

As the half wore on, Vale gained more control, and they went inches away from stretching their lead to three in the 67thminute when Pope and Hannant combined to pick out Luke Joyce who forced Forde into a smart save.

However, the rebound fell to Hannant and his powerful drive dropped narrowly wide of the post from 25 yards, a great opportunity for the Valiants.

With Pope hungry for a hat-trick, Worrall threaded him through on goal again on 73 minutes and he was denied by a low save from Forde.

The match ended 3-0 and the Vale started their season in perfect fashion, a campaign that saw us survive in 20th place in a tough season.

Last Time Out (League):

Sky Bet League One, The Abbey Stadium, Saturday 18th March 2023: Cambridge United 1-2 Charlton Athletic

Cambridge’s relegation fears worsened two weeks ago when they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Charlton Athletic at the Abbey Stadium.

Goals within the first half an hour from Miles Leaburn and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi secured the Addicks victory despite Lloyd Jones’ consolation goal 18 minutes from time.

The visitors opened the scoring o 14 minutes through Leaburn after a quick counterattack led to Rak-Sakyi crossing for the striker to fire into the net.

Rak-Sakyi turned from provider to goal scorer just before the half-hour mark when he met Albie Morgan’s free-kick to smash home at the near post.

Jones gave the hosts hope in the 72nd minute with a sublime volley that sailed past Maynard-Brewer, but Charlton managed to hold out until the end of the match for all three points.

Reverse Fixture:

Sky Bet League One, The Abbey Stadium, Saturday 22nd October 2022: Cambridge United 0-1 Port Vale

Paul Digby’s own goal ensured the Valiants secured all three points on the road at the Abbey Stadium against Cambridge United back in October.

Vale got the breakthrough with just over 10 minutes to go after Will Forrester broke from centre-back to put a ball into the box from the right-hand side, which Digby turned into his own net.

In the 10th minute, Massey had a great chance to give the Vale the lead when Odubeko set our number 19 through on goal, but unfortunately, William Mannion did well to tip his well-struck shot over the bar.

Odubeko then created a chance for himself, firing a low effort from 20 yards out which he saw tipped onto the post by Mannion.

Unfortunately for the Valiants, just 23 minutes into the contest, they saw their own keeper Jack Stevens forced off with a knee injury, with last season’s star man in goal, Aiden Stone, coming on for the 25-year-old.

Vale kept Mannion very busy in the first half, and just 10 minutes before the interval he was forced into a brilliant stop with his feet to divert Ben Garrity’s effort from close range away from danger.

From that smart stop, the hosts broke up the other end, with Jack Lankester firing just over the bar after a sweeping move, their first meaningful chance of the match.

Seconds before the break, Tom Conlon connected brilliantly with the ball when it fell to him 25 yards from goal, and it took a United body to prevent the strike from troubling the keeper.

With just under 20 minutes to go, Connor Hall nearly scored an incredible goal after he produced magic feet to get past two United players before bending a brilliant effort toward goal, but it went just over the bar.

U’s Team news:

Fejiri Okenabirhie and George Thomas both remained sidelined through injury, so will miss the trip to Burslem, whilst Liam O’Neill may also be absent due to a hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, Joe Ironside and Harvey Knibbs are facing late fitness tests and could be a much-needed boost for Cambridge if they are fit to play on Saturday.


25/02/23: Exeter City 2-0 Cambridge United, Sky Bet League One

04/03/23: Cambridge United 0-1 Portsmouth, Sky Bet League One

07/03/23: Cambridge United 1-1 Morecambe, Sky Bet League One

11/03/23: MK Dons 1-0 Cambridge United, Sky Bet League One

18/03/23: Cambridge United 1-2 Charlton Athletic, Sky Bet League One










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