Thursday, 27 August 2015

Abbey Stadium

Cambridge United 0-3 Crawley Town

22nd August 2015

On the face of it this encounter looked, even this early in the season, a reasonable bet for a home win.  Cambridge United sitting fifth and undefeated in the league, hosting a Crawley side without a win in any of their four competitive matches played thus far. 

But in the event the visitors handed out an object lesson in finishing to their hosts – Crawley scoring with each and every one of their three attempts on target.

Home fans would probably point to the absence through injury of their club’s top scorer Barry Corr, but if Cambridge United are to seriously harbour any promotion ambitions, they really have to be seen to be rather more than a one-man team.  And in any event, it was not up front but rather at the back, where they were found wanting this afternoon I felt – the line of giants in their defence singularly unable to cope with the pace of visiting forwards Roarie Deacon and Lewis Young.  The latter gave home full back George Taft a torrid time, especially during the first half, going past him time and again with embarrassing ease.

But it was DEACON who did the real damage.  After being allowed time just before the half-hour to line up a shot from outside the box which clipped the crossbar on the way over, he was inexplicably presented a second opportunity ten minutes later.  This effort did find its way into the Cambridge net, although requiring a significant deflection to wrong-foot home ‘keeper Chris Dunn.  Just after the break, DEACON then took advantage of more defensive slackness to double the lead.

Cambridge switched to what looked to my untutored eyes a rather adventurous 3-3-4 following this setback, but it really altered little.  Their most promising opportunity arrived with a set piece just outside the Crawley penalty-box.  Luke Berry’s first attempt was halted by over-eager encroachment by visiting defender Liam Donnelly, who received a second yellow as a reward for his enthusiasm.  Berry then extravagantly skied the resultant re-take.

In the closing minutes Gwion EDWARDS tapped in a third for Crawley to set the seal on a very bad day at the office for the home side.

Cambridge v Crawley - August 2015

Crawley's Matt Harrold just fails to connect properly with Simon Walton's corner-kick.

A free-kick from Crawley's Christian Scales flies over everyone's head on its way into the crowd.

Liam Hughes (18), Matt Harrold, Leon Legge (6)

The travelling Crawley support - Happy Bunnies having just seen their side go one up.

Cambridge v Crawley - August 2015

Freddie Woodman waits to collect another innocuous Cambridge attempt on goal.

Freddie Woodman - Crawley Town, on loan from Newcastle United

Cambridge's Danny Carr has a wild swipe at goal.....

.....and is suitably mortified as it flies out for a throw-in

Luke Berry's free-kick is blocked by an encroaching Liam Donnelly

I, and a number of the Cambridge players, initially thought the ref had given a penalty for handball.

After Donnelly's dismissal, Berry's second attempt was a huge anti-climax

Main Stand - Abbey Stadium, Cambridge

Panorama of Abbey Stadium, Cambridge

After having taken pics for this blog at almost 200 sporting events, I was in receipt of my first ticking-off as I moved towards the exit this afternoon.  My camera, just a bog-standard bridge job, was apparently deemed by the stewards be a “professional one”, and I was informed I was consequently infringing copyright in some way.  Had the steward(ess) seen some of the dreadful shots I end up deleting after each trip, she would have hesitated I think to use the word professional.  But she was so polite and almost apologetic, that I did not mind too much.

Main entrance to Abbey Stadium on Newmarket Road.

I do so like grounds where floodlight pylons guide the casual visitor.

As it sez: Cambridge United Supporters Club.

Access to the Main Stand is via this narrow lane.

Rear of the main stand.

This visit to the Abbey Stadium had been shoe-horned into a long weekend break in Cambridge with Wife, and I felt I could not visit the city without paying homage in some way or other to one of the bands from my formative youth: Pink Floyd.  We had had The Anchor pub pointed out to us on a punting trip; where David Gilmour and Syd Barratt had listened to and apparently been influenced by various jazz bands.......but it was just a pub.  I could probably, with the aid of the internet, have sourced and visited the address of the house where Syd latterly lived with his mum, but that would have felt inordinately ghoulish.

So instead we made the short trip to the south-west of the city to Grantchester, to enjoy a wander along the River Cam.  The site was, of course, the inspiration for Roger Waters’ song Grantchester Meadows on the Ummagumma album.  But I rather doubt if he ever visited when the rain was pissing down as heavily as it chose to do when we dropped in.  The song, I am sure, would have turned out rather differently had that ever been the case.

Grantchester Meadows in the rain.

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