Cambridge United’s miserable October continues with home defeat to Port Vale

Cambridge United made it five league losses on the spin with a 1-0 home defeat to Port Vale on Saturday.

Paul Digby’s own goal 11 minutes from time gave the visitors a deserved win at the Abbey.

United’s miserable October continues, with Mark Bonner’s side now yet to take a point from any of their five league matches this month.

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The U’s have now lost seven of their last eight league matches, leaving them on 16 points from 15 matches played in League One.

Bonner made four changes to the team that were beaten 2-0 by Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.

Will Mannion, Liam O’Neil, Jack Lankester and Jubril Okedina came into the side for Dimi Mitov, Shilow Tracey, Lewis Simper and Joe Ironside.

The visitors were the better of the two sides in the first half, but were unable to make their chances count.

Mannion was to thank for keeping the scores level before the break, making a few excellent saves, whilst United’s defence also performed well.

The visitors’ first chance came through Tom Pett, but the midfielder fired over the bar from outside the box.

Liam O’Neil in possession for the U’s against Port Vale.
(Image: Keith Jones/Cambridge News)

Gavin Massey had an excellent chance to put Vale in front when played through on goal by Mido Odubeko, but Mannion produced a fine stop to tip over.

The contest became end to end for a spell, with United creating some good moments without much bite to their attacking play, whilst the home side were also loose in possession on several occasions.

The away side had two opportunities in quick succession through Odubeko and Massey, but Mannion was once again equal to both.

Vale were forced into an early change as goalkeeper Jack Stevens picked up a knock in a collision with James Brophy and was unable to continue.

Tom Conlon was next to try his luck for the away side from a free-kick, but George Williams did well to head the ball out for a corner when the effort was destined for the target.

Lankester had United’s best chance in the contest.
(Image: Keith Jones/Cambridge News)

From the resulting set-piece, Mannion did brilliantly to turn Ben Garrity’s low effort away with his feet, as the goalkeeper continued to impress on his first league start of the season.

Jack Lankester had a rare first half effort for the U’s but fired over when well placed inside the box.

Conlon had a long range strike blocked in injury-time, as the visitors were left to rue missed chances heading into the break at 0-0.

The U’s managed to stem the flow of chances from the away side after the restart, but were unable to test Stone at the other end.

Bonner recognised the need for changes, bringing on Fejiri Okenabirhie at half-time, whilst Ironside, Tracey and Simper were brought on just after the hour.

The visitors remained the more likely to find the opener, as Connor Hall curled an effort over the crossbar after beating two players.

The away side made the breakthrough 11 minutes from time as Will Forrester’s cross from the right was sliced into his own net by Digby.

The U’s were consigned to defeat 11 minutes from time.
(Image: Keith Jones/Cambridge News)

United pushed to get back into the game late on, but created little besides Ironside’s strike being blocked, as they fell to their latest defeat.

Following the defeat, head coach Mark Bonner said: “I thought it was a poor game. I think the goal does completely sum up where we are at the moment.

“We probably started the game and looked a little bit anxious and flat in certain situations, which is tough. You’ve got to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

“It’s a match-winning performance from Will Mannion, because he keeps us in it first half, but we need more people grabbing games and creating match-winning moments themselves.

“We changed things at half-time and got more control of the game, but there wasn’t much creativity about us, and to be honest it was a dead game second half. Nothing happened. The goal just sums it up for us a little bit at the moment.

“It’s a tough run of games for us, tough results at the moment. We’ve lost way too many games. That should be just a rubbish 0-0 in the end, but we haven’t found a way of taking points from games at the minute when they’re running away from us.

“We’re losing too many games, the level hasn’t been good enough in too many of them. We need to sharpen up and do better, because it isn’t good enough.”

U’s: Mannion, Williams, Digby, Taylor (C) (Okenabirhie 45), Jones, Brophy, O’Neil (Simper 63), Smith, Lankester (Tracey 63), Okedina, Knibbs (Ironside 63). Unused subs: Holden, Rossi, Worman.

Port Vale: Stevens (Stone 22), Hall, Smith, Worrall (Robinson 72), Garrity, Conlon (C), Benning (Jones 86), Forrester, Massey (Charsley 86), Odubeko, Pett (Butterworth 71). Unused subs: Stone, Cass, Holden.

Attendance: 6,218 (732 away).


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