Cambridge United 1 Charlton Athletic 2
We played some really nice stuff in the first half. 4-4-3 again and we played with a bright confidence on the front foot collecting a lot of second balls.
Second half was a different story as Cambridge remembered they are fighting for their lives, but we held on for what I thought was an enjoyable win.
Once again the away end was sold out, and in the first 45 minutes those Addicks saw the away team time and again break through a high Cambridge line that included Michael Morrison.
One such quick break saw Rak-Sakyi beat the offside flag to cross perfectly for an onrushing Miles Leaburn to fire home on 14 minutes.
Rak-Sakyi, who a little too often overplayed when he should’ve been less selfish, then headed over a good opportunity, but all that was forgotten when he nicely flicked a Morgan free kick into the net to put us 2-0 up.
It was Leaburn who won that free-kick, and throughout the first half his mobility and strength was causing Cambridge’s older centre-halves in their back three all kinds of problems.
Sadly Leaburn was taken off at halftime as an injury precaution, and Daniel Kanu was given his chance. Kanu was lively but obviously likes to play right along the line, and was caught offside a few times, but I am sure he will put it all down to experience.
Once Cambridge scored, and it was coming, they really put us under the cash. Just before the goal AMB made a terrific save low down and was noticeably really dominant coming for crosses. A real positive trait for the future that, as it really relieves pressure.
We stood firm, and rode our luck but it took us a while to regain some composure, but when we did we saw out the game as Holden made all five of his subs.
One thing of note was that we were denied one of the most blatant penalty decisions of the season when in a WWF type move Kanu was thrown to the floor, but the referee ignored the shouts of Charlton fans and players.
One last point, Michael Hector was exceptional all game and was my MoM.
Dean Holden: “I think first half, we were in spells absolutely dominant. We could have gone a third goal up, like we did the other night [at Morecambe] and took the game away from them.”
Stats (CAFC first): Possession – 55% / 45%; Passes – 461 / 358; Accurate passes – 342 / 231; Shots (on target) – 9 (4) / 10 (3)
For me, our usual massive panic attack was caused by them realising they could attack down our right at will, with Clare missing most of the time, yet it was Thomas who was subbed when he was doing well IMO. Clare catches the eye going forward but is NOT a defender, but he’s Teflon to our managers it seems.
Yep, a blatant penalty, how can you get wrestled to the ground like that and the referee just waves play on? Thankfully it didn’t matter. But we should have put the game to bed long before then, we dropped off in the last 30 minutes and played to preserve the lead and it nearly rebounded on us.
Overall a positive game, good energy and movement and Leaburn’s goal showed what can expect next season if we give him good service.
I’m guessing that Dean Holden preferring Terell Thomas, a centre-back at left-back means that Matt Penney might not be seen in a Charlton shirt. But Michael Hector is looking a good signing. There have been a few mistakes as his fitness levels improve but he’s getting better. Hopefully he’ll sign a full-time deal, he and Lucas Ness has a good look to it.
Not been to Cambridge before. Proper ‘old style’ football ground and very friendly. Got the bus down from the park and ride chatting with a few of their fans (who also made a great recommendation where to pick up Mothers Day card & flowers after match! Very handy.) So 7 points for the last 3 games has had us playing 3 halves of great football and 3 halves – all the Acrington game and 2nd half yesterday – not so good. Certainly an improvement. Leaburn is beginning to look very classy. With regard to Clare’s defensive prowess he has defended narrowly all season to there is always room down his side – even with Holden shouting at him… Anyway these last couple of performances are making me reconsider my decision not to attend more games this season.
My mate spotted that I wrote 4-4-3. Might explain how we won 🤣
You commented a couple of weeks ago that you did not like 3 at the back. This system may have been utilised to provide some much needed height at set plays, as we lack height in midfield and up front. Using Thomas at full back rebalances the shortage of height and allows 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 systems to be used. After watching the recent U21 game against Cardiff in which Thomas did good work in the left back position although the team sheet indicated he was left side of a back 3. Oguntayo who was on the team sheet as the left back played more advanced than normal.
This may have been a trial for Thomas. I commented to a friend after the game that Thomas could be a contender for left back.