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Cambridge United
Cambridge United

Cards prepare for testing friendly

Brian Caffarey
3:18pm, Sun 23rd Jul 2017
Woking v Cambridge United
Pre-season friendly
7.45pm on Tuesday 25 July 2017

The Cards’ penultimate friendly game is against League 2 side, Cambridge United, who can certainly be expected to provide tough opposition for Anthony Limbrick’s young outfit. With the start of the season fast approaching, Cards fans will be looking for signs that the team appears solid enough to withstand a testing opening programme.


After midweek’s abandoned game at Basingstoke the Cards achieved a 1-1 draw at Wingate and Finchley on Saturday, with Inih Effiong scoring his second goal for the Club. Three trialists started, including ex-Chelmsford right back Matt Young, who was the sole trialist to get onto the pitch at the Camrose. The others were ex-Maidstone winger, Joe N’Guessan, and James Demetriou, an Australian striker of Cypriot descent who was playing in Cyprus last season. In the second half young Spurs keeper, Luke Sheldrick, former Brentwood Town full back, Ben Sampayo, and QPR centre-back, Jake Eales, also appeared. There were further shows, too, for Woking Academy players, Ivan Nsimbi and Declan Appau.

With only one more friendly game – at home to Swindon Town next Saturday – before the season starts, Anthony Limbrick will no doubt be close to making final decisions on additions to his squad.


The U’s finally made it back to League 2 at the end of the 2013-14 season, finishing in second place in the Conference table and beating Gateshead in the Play-Off final. The following season they finished in 19th place in League 2, 10 points above the relegation places, but also achieved a money-spinning draw against Manchester United in the FA Cup. Richard Money was sacked after a poor start in 2014-15, with Shaun Derry taking over in November 2015. He steered the club to an impressive 9th place finish and followed that last season with an 11th place finish.

Off the pitch, the U’s long-held plans to move from the Abbey Stadium – which they no longer own – to a new ground have had to be shelved and the emphasis now is in developing the Abbey Stadium into a community stadium with much-improved facilities.

The U’s have made some promising-looking signings this summer. Highly-experienced keeper David Forde has arrived to replace Will Norris, who has moved to Wolves. Forde made over 300 appearances for Millwall and has 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland. He will be understudied by another new signing, Bulgarian youth international, Dimitov Mitov, signed from Charlton Athletic. There are also two interesting arrivals from Partick Thistle. Ade Azeez is a very quick striker, who played over 80 games for AFC Wimbledon, whilst David Amoo is a nifty winger, who started his career at Liverpool and, after taking in stints at Preston North End and Tranmere Rovers amongst other clubs, made over 60 appearances for Carlisle before making a similar number of appearances for Thistle. There is a Carlisle connection too in the shape of 34-year-old striker Jabo Ibehre, who joins having netted 31 goals in 84 appearances for the Cumbrians after playing for a host of other League clubs. Gary Deegan is a tough-tackling midfielder who has joined from Shrewsbury Town, having played in Ireland as well as for Coventry City, Hibs, Northampton and Southend. Arriving from Gillingham is young midfielder Emmanuel Osadebe, who started out with Spurs before making over 50 appearances for the Gills.

Other, well-known, players include Josh Coulson, Harrison Dunk, captain Leon Legge, Luke Berry and Adam McGurk.

The U’s’ pre-season games so far have ended:

St Neots Town 0 Cambridge United 1
St Albans 0 Cambridge United 1
Royston Town 1 Cambridge United 4
Cambridge United 0 Norwich City 2/Cambridge United 0 Norwich City 0 (Two games of an hour each)
Ebbsfleet United 0 Cambridge United 2
Cambridge United 2 Tottenham Hotspur U23 3
Dartford 1 Cambridge United 1

Adam McGurk scored United’s equaliser at Dartford on Saturday.

The U’s begin their season on 5 August with an away trip to Exeter City.


Adults - £10
Concessions - £5
U12s - FREE


Woking 0 Cambridge United 3
Vanarama National Conference
10 April 2014

For the Cards, this was simply a case of a game too far, against a confident Cambridge side destined for the play-offs. Despite three changes from the team which drew 2-2 with Grimsby Town in midweek, the signs of fatigue were clearly evident, as Garry Hill’s men lined-up for their third match in just five days. 

The hosts actually started the game brightly, with Josh Payne, Joey Jones and Kevin Betsy all squandering half-chances, only for a mistake from goalkeeper Sam Beasant to allow ex-Card Sam-Yorke to slot the visitors ahead. 

An error from Keiran Murtagh allowed Chadwick to double the U’s advantage, and with only 25 minutes gone the game looked all but over. The Cards battled hard in the second half, and were unlucky not to pull a goal back through substitute Scott Rendell before Liam Hughes smashed in a spectacular third goal. 

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts (Brett Johnson 69), Kevin Betsy, Keiran Murtagh (John Goddard 37), Josh Payne, Joey Jones, Giuseppe Sole, Jack Marriott (Scott Rendell 69)

Unused Subs: Andy Little, John Nutter

Cambridge United: Will Norris, Richard Tait, Greg Taylor, Ian Miller, Josh Coulson, Liam Hughes, Tom Champion, Luke Chadwick (Nathan Arnold 86), Ryan Donaldson, Delano Sam-Yorke (Ashley Chambers 71), Matthew Barnes-Homer (Andy Pugh 65)

Unused Subs: Kevin Roberts, Luke Berry

Goals: Sam-Yorke 17, Chadwick 25, Hughes 85

Attendance: 1,805


The Cards’ remaining pre-season friendly is:

Woking v Swindon Town - 3pm, Saturday 29th July (The Laithwaite Community Stadium)

The season kicks off on Saturday 5 August 2017 when Gateshead are the visitors.

Come on, you Cards!

Encouraging display from the Cards

Brian Caffarey
9:06am, Wed 26th Jul 2017
Woking 0 Cambridge United 0
Pre-season friendly
25 July 2017

The Cards produced an encouraging performance last night in holding League 2 side Cambridge United to a goalless draw. There was not much to choose between the sides for the most part and, with a bit more sharpness up front – no doubt something Anthony Limbrick will be trying to address over the next week or so – the Cards might well have registered a win. But he will have been pleased with a solid display defensively.

Woking lined up with Nathan Baxter in goal; a back four of trialist Matt Young, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu and Nathan Ralph; a defensive cover of Joey Jones and Chez Isaac; Bobson Bawling and Joe Ward on the flanks; and James Demetriou (trialist) behind striker Inih Effiong. The latest signing, right back Louis Ramsay on loan from Norwich City, announced that afternoon, was not involved. Jason Banton and Kane Ferdinand remained absent through injury.

A warm dry evening contrasted with wet weather endured by the Cards in their previous two friendly outings. Both sides started energetically but with little goalmouth incident for the first ten minutes or so. At that point the ball ricocheted up into Effiong’s path on the edge of the area. However, as he sought to bring it under control and tee himself up, the visitors’ keeper, Forde, quickly intercepted. Two minutes later, Ward, having taken down a fine crossfield ball from Isaac, turned inside to fire an enterprising, curling, effort just wide of the far post.

Cambridge’s first chance came from a long throw, with Baxter grabbing a loose ball at the second attempt as it was nudged on goalwards. Ibehre went close shortly afterwards with a volley as he latched onto a ball from a corner. The Cards’ rearguard was looking reasonably assured, although both Orlu and Jones were caught as they tried to play the ball out of defence, with Baxter saving Jones’s blushes with a fairly routine stop.

Ibehre again caught the eye midway through the half, letting fly with a tremendous strike from distance, with Baxter doing well to tip the ball over the bar. Woking’s young keeper immediately followed that up with a smart save from the resulting corner, safely grabbing a close-range shot.

Effiong, ruggedly battling up front, did a good job in holding the ball up in a Woking counter-attack, ending with Demetriou shooting from distance, Forde repelling at the expense of a corner. Demetriou tried his luck again a few minutes later but this time his strike was comfortably over the bar.

As half-time approached the Woking defence warded off a couple of corners, while Jones’s header from a free-kick was well met but carried little threat from the edge of United’s area.

Half-time: Woking 0 Cambridge United 0

It looked as though the visitors had been told to up their tempo as they came at the Cards with renewed vigour immediately after the break. Ibehre shot narrowly wide as a cross reached him in the box, and they also gained a free-kick in a dangerous area, but Berry fired the ball straight into the defensive wall. However, the increased tempo did not really seem to affect the pattern of the game, with Woking continuing to hustle well off the ball and preventing the visitors from achieving very much from their spells of possession.

Ten minutes in, a flowing move saw Effiong drive into the box. He side-stepped one defender but then seemed to lose his bearings as a tame left-footed effort drifted well wide of the far post. He went closer shortly afterwards. Having drawn a foul, he latched onto Jones’s resulting header from the free-kick, flashing an instinctive left-footed shot just over the bar.

Fabio Saraiva came on for Demetriou in the 58th minute: the first of a succession of Woking substitutions, which also saw the arrival of Charlie Carter, Declan Appau and Ivan Nsimbi.

Cambridge applied pressure again, with Baxter tipping Taylor’s close-range header over the bar, while the rest of the defence dealt capably with several more corners and a quick break, which Staunton managed to block.

A bad foul on the hardworking Bawling led to a free-kick midway through the half, which Saraiva drove low and hard just past the post.

Appau’s arrival in midfield seemed to spark a period of play in which Woking looked the more threatening side, with the visitors’ earlier tempo no longer being sustained. A fine passing move saw Ward’s cross cleared before it reached Effiong and then, with 80 minutes gone, Carter played in Effiong, who, after making space for himself, lifted a deliberate effort just too high. An Appau cross led next to a flicked header from Saraiva, which Forde held cleanly.

In the final minutes Baxter made an excellent diving save from Maris, pushing the ball away for a corner, from which the lanky Darling ought to have done better with a free header.

All in all, this was an encouraging display against a strong Cambridge side, whose season also starts on 5 August. There were solid performances all over the pitch, with everyone looking fit and seeming to know their job. Baxter made some decent saves. Orlu and Staunton looked composed in the centre back positions. Jones, Isaac, Carter and Appau all worked hard and effectively in midfield. Appau, strong in the tackle and with good distribution, looks as though he could emulate Carter last season in making an immediate impact at first team level. It was perhaps disappointing that the talented Ward in particular did not manage to get into the game very much. Effiong battled gamely for the full 90 minutes and showed that his physicality can cause problems for defenders, although he looked short of support and will perhaps feel that on another day he might have put away one of the admittedly few chances that came his way. The main requirement seems to be to find a way of offering a bit more of a goal threat, probably through at least one more striker and also from midfield.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Chez Isaac (Charlie Carter 65), Bobson Bawling (Declan Appau 75), Joe Ward (Ivan Nsimbi 81), James Demetriou (Fabio Saraiva 58), Inih Effiong

Unused subs: Luke Sheldrick (trialist), Jake Eales (trialist)

Cambridge United: David Forde, Jake Carroll (Harry Darling 58), Gary Deegan, Greg Taylor, Leon Legge, Pietro Mingoia, Luke Berry (Adam McGurk 58), Jabo Ibehre (Matt Foy 83), Emmanuel Osadebe, George Maris, Leon Davies

Unused sub: Dimi Bitov

Attendance: 622

My MOTM: No one standout performer but Inih Offing (pictured) narrowly gets my vote over Nathan Baxter for sheer dogged hard work and determination over the full 90 minutes.

Coming up: Woking v Swindon Town – 3pm on Saturday 29 July 2017

Woking 0 - 0 Cambridge United (Anthony Limbrick Interview)

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