Hard fought draw against Bedford for football Blues
University of Bedfordshire (Bedford) 0 – 0 Cambridge
First versus second. Both teams unbeaten. Crunch match, six-pointer, clash of the titans, call it what you will this was the biggest match of the season to date.
Though it was in the end a damp squib, with both sides drawing blanks in front of goal, yet another clean sheet and a point at the home of the league leaders leaves the Blues in a very strong position going into the winter break.
Despite sitting 5 points behind Bedford, having played a game less, captain Johnson was brimming with confidence after the final whistle saying to his players “This is a brilliant result for us”. As for the rest of the season? “I have no doubt we will…go on to win the league”.
With an attacking 4-2-4 formation, Bedford were clearly here to win a convincing victory and leave them all but champions. In the first half they very much looked like doing so, playing a direct, route one game, made all the more difficult to defend in blustery conditions.
Bedford were allowed too much time and space on the ball, while the Cambridge defence were guilty of sitting too deep. This almost brought the breakthrough on two occasions; the centre-half pairing of James Day and Dan Gwyther, writing for TCS, tried to save their blushes by claiming to have kept the Blues in the game with ‘two cultured tackles’.
Their captain saw things differently feeling relieved to have reached half-time with the scores still level after Day and Gwyther, who were ‘unusually slow’, ‘chopped down’ their forwards conceding free-kicks in dangerous positions.
Despite getting a number of balls into the box, making good use of the wide areas, with Stock a danger-man as always, Cambridge fashioned few opportunities though Baxter was unlucky to hit the bar.
The tactical nous of Johnson and coach Che Wilson showed in the second half as the Blues altered their tactics to combat Bedford’s attacking threat.
The Blues’ philosophy this year has been very much based around defending from the front, and by being tighter all over the pitch Cambridge were able to dominate the second half.
Though their free-flowing football was hindered somewhat by the conditions, Cook managed to beat the defenders but not the mud, the away side may have even felt that they had done enough to win the game.
Johnson could not quite direct his header goalwards, while a dangerous ball from Rutt across the face of goal eluded everyone.
Perhaps a point gained rather than two dropped, with a draw being perhaps the fairest result, it was one which certainly sent the away side home delighted.
The Blues’ awesome defensive record continues while both sides remain unbeaten. Cambridge have to wait until the last game of the season for the return fixture, a match which will surely decide which of the two sides will win the division.
The Falcons capped a good day for Cambridge football with a comfortable 4-2 win over Northampton 4ths.
In a very tight division, where the top five teams are separated by just 3 points, this was a crucial win.
Captain Chris Ellis was delighted with the victory and above all the performance, with all the goals being of a very high quality.
With a crucial game next week against the undefeated league leaders, he will be hoping for a similar performance knowing a win would take them to the top of the table.
Check the Tab next week to find out how they got on.