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Match Reports

REPORT Cambridge United 2 Oxford United 0

Opening day ends in defeat. Full time report

5 August 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Cambridge United 2 Oxford United 0

Opening day ends in defeat. Full time report

5 August 2023

Oxford United were beaten on the opening day of the season as two first half goals from Cambridge gave the other university city all three points.

Goals from Jack Lankester and Gassan Ahadme earned Mark Bonner's side a 2-0 win at the Abbey Stadium to frustrate the sold-out away end, which gave their team superb backing.

There were no surprises in the starting XI, but having started well enough, the first shot on target produced the opening goal as Cambridge stole an early advantage.

The elusive Saikou Janneh created it, driving into space on the right flank and powering in a low shot that James Beadle parried, but only into the path of Lankester, who sent the ball back into the unguarded net to make it 1-0.

cambridge goal 1.jpg

In their light-blue third kit for the first time, rightly ignoring Boat Race traditions, United refused to let one goal sink them, but on 28 they were two goals down and treading water.

It was Janneh who was again the provider, this time on the left of attack. Flying towards the packed away end, the Gambian forward stood up a perfect cross and Ipswich loanee Ahadme thumped his header past the stranded Beadle to make it 2-0.


United had seen plenty of the ball but didn’t test former teammate Jack Stevens until first-half added time, when he got down well to save a low strike from Cameron Brannagan, meaning that Liam Manning had stern words with his men at the break.

There was more urgency after the interval but not quite the expected rhythm until the game opened up after the hour mark. Brannagan sent an effort just wide, sub Stanley Mills was off target soon after, while at the other end the home side offered little to suggest they might further extend their lead. They didn't need to.

It became a question of whether United could find a goal that might offer a lifeline. Mills, O'Donkor and Bodin were all given their chance in attack and Cambridge dropped ever deeper to defend their lead.

With time against them, Bodin miscued at the back post as the impressive Mills sent in a superb cross, then the Everton loanee forced Stevens into a crucial block; had that gone in then United had all of the momentum for a dramatic finale. On this occasion it wasn't meant to be.


Sub Sullay Kaikai almost made it three with a last-minute effort but by then, excuse the pun, it was academic.

An early setback but don't let one result dent your enthusiasm. United have won just one of their last ten opening games, the last seven of them away from home. Plenty of time to make amends, starting with the first home game of the season, against Carlisle next Saturday.

See you there.

Att: 7,435
Away: 1,469

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels, Steve Edmunds and Darrell Fisher

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