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Match Reports

REPORT: Wanderers 2 Cambridge Utd 0

On-song Wanderers march on as keeper Trafford keeps it clean to enter the record books

1 February 2022

Resurgent Wanderers continued their climb up the table and created another bit of history on the back of a fourth straight win which lifted them back into the top half of League One.

Goals either side of the break from Amadou Bakayoko and another for top scorer Dapo Afolayan gave the Whites a third successive home win.

But the first came at the other end of the pitch as goalkeeper James Trafford wrote himself into the record books.

The on-loan Manchester City youngster is yet to concede a goal since joining Wanderers last month.

And that run of clean sheets makes the 19-year-old the first goalkeeper in Wanderers’ history not to concede a goal in his first four games for the club as Ian Evatt’s men served further notice that they are on the charge.

Wanderers were missing the influential Kieran Lee with a minor knock but still looked to pick up where they left off in Saturday’s 6-0 drubbing of Sunderland which had given the Whites their biggest ever win at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Bakayoko goal.jpg

Some of their football in the opening stages was out of the top drawer and could well have had them ahead.

Wanderers’ movement of the ball was excellent and invariably ended with a chance at the end of it.

Marlon Fossey was first to go close as he met a Declan John cross with an effort he put into the side netting and Fossey was again an almost constant source of danger.

After being picked out by a superb pass from Aaron Morley – who has looked instantly at home in a Wanderers’ shirt – the on-loan Fulham man combined with Dapo Afolayan to tee up Dion Charles, whose near-post flick was well saved by Dimitar Mitov.

And when Fossey burst clear again down the right flank, his cross was volleyed over the top by the hungry Charles.

Cambridge’s only defeat since Christmas had come via a penalty shoot-out loss to Rotherham in the Papa John’s Trophy so perhaps they would inevitably have their moments.

Bakayoko Charles celebration.jpg

But it was still against the run of play when Harvey Knibbs headed against a post mid-way through the opening half.

The respite for the visitors was brief, however, with Fossey again threatening the target as he bounced a volley just wide before seeing a shot charged down by Harrison Dunk after the Us’ defence was prised open again.

Sam Smith flashed a header just over the top at the other end but six minutes before the break the Whites deservedly made the breakthrough.

Again the build-up was neat and after Afolayan slipped the ball to John with a delightful flick, the left-back popped up on the right-hand side of the penalty to pull the ball back for Bakayoko to side-foot home his sixth goal of the season on his recall to the side as Lee’s replacement.

With their noses in front, Wanderers knew a second goal might finish it and twice early in the second half they almost got it.

Afolayan was instrumental both times, first nicking the ball and combining with Charles before forcing Mitov into an excellent save and then breaking forward to release Fossey, who appeared to be upended by Dunk as he burst into the box.

Afolayan celebration.jpg

Cambridge looked to capitalise on that apparent reprieve with their best spell of the game as they enjoyed a first period of sustained pressure.

But the Whites stood firm to protect Trafford’s goal and with 20 minutes to go earned themselves some breathing space thanks to another excellent Afolayan goal.

Not for the first time, Charles worried the Cambridge defence into a mistake and after robbing James Brophy fed to Afolayan to move forward and then cut inside to unleash an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net to take his goal tally for the season to a dozen.

January arrivals Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Kieran Sadlier were then given time off the bench to deliver impressive cameos as the White’s new-found squad strength was again evident.

But as the clock ticked down, eyes remained on Trafford who didn’t disappoint as he capped another assured performance with his record-breaking shut-out.

James Trafford applause.jpg

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Almeida Santos, Johnston; Fossey, Williams, Morley, John; Afolayan (Sadlier 76); Bakayoko (Bodvarsson 63), Charles (Thomason 90). Substitutes: Dixon, Aimson, Baptiste, Gordon.

Booked: Williams

Cambridge United: Mitov; Williams, Okedina, Iredale (Sherring 44), Dunk; Digby; Knibbs (Tolaj 65), May, Worman (Lankester 74), Brophy; Smith. Substitutes: Mannion, O’Neil, Sherring, Bennett, Akanbi.

Booked: Mitov

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 13,334 (Cambridge 266)


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