The Valiants are looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat against Burton Albion as we travel to Cambridge United in Sky Bet League One action
The Vale suffered our second defeat of the season on Tuesday after losing 3-2 at home to Burton Albion. Despite Vale’s early dominance, it was The Brewers who took the lead after just ten minutes when Beryly Lubala headed home Tom Hamer’s floated cross.
The Valiants continued to dictate the play despite going a goal down and with five minutes of the half left they finally levelled the scores. Connor Grant crossed from the left for Ben Garrity to head into the back of the net off in the inside of the post.
After the break, The Valiants continued to dominate but Max Crocombe stood firm in the Burton goal and thwarted Vale on numerous occasions.
Five minutes after the break the visitors went ahead again when Steve Seddon tapped home from close range after Vale failed to clear a corner from the right side.
Ten minutes later Burton doubled their lead when Kwadwo Baah won the ball in midfield before driving into the box and firing past Connor Ripley into the top left corner.
The Vale pulled a goal back in the 86th minute when the ball dropped nicely for Ollie Arblaster who volleyed into the back of the net. Despite intense late pressure, Vale were unable to get a leveller and fell to their first defeat since the opening day of the season.
“We’ve reviewed Tuesday’s game as a whole group, with honesty, with accountability. We’ll treat every game the same whether we’ve won, drawn or lost.
"We’ll look back at the game, I looked at this yesterday. I was delighted with large periods of that game in possession, I thought we were the dominant force, we pushed Burton back, we kept possession, we kept probing, we created more chances than we had in previous games, their goalkeeper had a really good night. Unfortunately, we made some defensive errors which were accountable for individually and collectively, but we’ll look at it, we’ll learn from it and we’ll approach the next game in exactly the same manner”
Cambridge United currently sit in 11th position after picking up 12 points from their opening seven league games this season. The U’s have won four and lost three in the league, their wins have come against Oxford United, Fleetwood Town, Bristol Rovers and more recently Reading who they beat 1-0 in front of the sky sports cameras on Monday 4th September.
Their win against the Royals was the last time they picked up maximum points. Since then, they have lost 2-0 to Peterborough in the EFL trophy, before losing 2-1 to Wigan Athletic last Saturday.
Opposition Manager’s Thoughts
Here is what Cambridge United manager Mark Bonner had to say ahead of Saturday’s fixture:
“No question they are a very, very good team, playing in a style that is a bit of a shift from what they have done. They’ve recruited well in the summer, very expansive, very open team with the ball. I’ve been really impressed with them.
“They’re actually quite similar in a style to a few of the teams we’ve played against recently, so we need to make sure we’re at the best of our game to make sure we are competitive, can get on top and then try to control the game ourselves.”
Player to Watch – Elias Kachunga
Kachunga began his career in the Bundesliga at Borussia Mönchengladbach where he came through their youth system and made two appearances for The Foals before joining SC Paderborn. When Paderborn for relegated in 2015 he moved to FC Ingolstadt O4 for a club-record 1.7 Million Euros. Shortly after joining he joined Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan. In March 2017, The Terriers made his loan permanent when they offered Ingolstadt £1.1 million. He played over 100 games for Huddersfield Town, helping them get promotion to the Premier League.
Kachunga was released by Huddersfield at the end of the 2019-20 season, soon after he was signed by Sheffield Wednesday where he played 27 times. At the end of one season at Hillsborough, Kachunga was released and signed for Bolton Wanderers where he played 70 times over the course of two seasons. He also scored in their 4-0 EFL Trophy win against Plymouth Argyle last season. He was picked up by the U’s in the summer of 2023 and has played eight games so far this season, picking up one goal.
Kachunga has also represented two International teams, He represented Germany at all youth levels through Under 17’s to Under 21’s. In 2017 he made his debut for DR Congo where picked up his only cap in a 2-1 friendly loss to Ghana.
Last Season’s Fixtures
Cambridge United 0-1 Port Vale, Saturday 22nd October 2022.
In the first meeting between the sides last season, The Valiants ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a Paul Digby OG. The only goal of the game came in the 76th minute when Will Forrester broke down the right side and sent in a low cross into the box which was somehow diverted into the back of net by the sliding Cambridge skipper from just inside the box help Vale to three points on the road.
Port Vale 0-2 Cambridge United, Saturday 1st April 2023.
The Vale dominated the ball in the first half but failed to make it count after missing several chances to go ahead. Shortly after the break, the best chance of the game fell to Funso Ojo but his effort from just inside the box was smartly saved by the Cambridge keeper. This save from Will Mannion kept his side his side in the tie, and it proved to be game-changing.
Just minutes after Ojo missed that chance, The U’s went ahead through their top scorer Sam Smith. James Brophy’s cross from the right was met by Jak Lankester, his initial effort was saved well by Aidan Stone but the rebound fell kindly to Sam Smith who fired home to give his side the lead. Just four minutes later their lead doubled when Lloyd Jones headed in Connor McGrandles’s deep freekick at the near post. A chaotic four-minute spell decided the game as Vale failed to get back into it and suffered a 2-0 home defeat.
Christopher Pollard will take charge of Saturday's match against Cambridge United and will be assisted by Daniel Bonneywell and David Harrison. Daniel Cook has been selected as the game's fourth official.