REPORT: Cambridge United v Wanderers

Wanderers showed their fighting spirit to make sure they didn’t leave the Abbey Stadium empty-handed.

The Whites played the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Kyle Dempsey had been shown a second yellow card to end an impressive afternoon early.

But for the second time this season after going a man down on the road they dug in to preserve a clean sheet and a hard-earned point.

Ian Evatt’s men had played for longer with 10 in the heat at Port Vale in August to secure a similar outcome.

But this still needed a steely determination to get over the line after opportunities earlier in the game to capture a second successive away win.

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James Trafford was required to make a couple of outstanding saves – including an effort to deny Harvey Knibbs from the last kick of the game.

But Wanderers also had opportunities to get their noses in front in a highly competitive encounter.

And while it’s still not fully clicking for them in front of goal, Evatt’s side showed they aren’t soft touches away from their own stadium as they got themselves moving forward again.

Wanderers made four changes to the side that had started their FA Cup defeat a week ago but were unable to call on their goalscorer from that game due to illness to Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

Striker Amadou Bakayoko therefore earned a starting chance and was a lively presence in an upbeat start from the Whites.

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Bakayoko just failed to connect with a cross from Conor Bradley before former Cambridge defender Jack Iredale fizzed the follow-up just wide via a deflection.

Iredale also delivered a couple of long throws as Evatt’s men showed they could go direct when required, while midfield men Aaron Morley and Dempsey both tried their luck from outside the penalty area as Wanderers looked to break the deadlock.

Cambridge’s run of six defeats in their last six league games had seen them slide down the table but their home record still stands up to scrutiny and they didn’t look short of belief in a high-tempo first half.

The hosts asked one or two questions with balls into the box but James Trafford wasn’t seriously tested.

And the nearest either side came to the opening goal was a fiercely struck volley from Elias Kachunga following another long throw seven minutes before the break which flew just over the bar as the Whites finished the first half on the front foot.

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Neither side had created a really clear-cut chance but that changed within moments of the re-started with an opening at either end.

Trafford made a brilliant save to deny Harvey Knibbs from close range before Wanderers then broke away through Kachunga, who picked out Conor Bradley.

Bradley’s initial effort was blocked but he managed to keep the ball alive for Dion Charles, whose shot on the turn was just too high.

Trafford had a more straightforward save to make from a Lloyd Jones’ header, while Will Mannion was needed at the other end to beat out an effort from Bradley as the Whites tried to find a way through.

And with 20 minutes to go Evatt made his first change as he sent on Dapo Afolayan in place of Kachunga in a bid to try and find a winner.

Afolayan hadn’t had a touch, however, when Wanderers were only inches away from going in front.

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Dempsey won a corner and from Iredale’s delivery, Gethin Jones arrived perfectly at the back post but powered his header just wide.

The visitors were looking to build up a head of steam but moments later found themselves down to 10 men when Dempsey was judged to have blocked off Gibbs and was given no benefit of the doubt with a second yellow card.

Evatt sent for fresh legs in the shape of George Thomason and Owen Beck and with five minutes to Morley sent a skidding effort whistling just wide as the Whites didn’t give up on the possibility of taking all three points.

That proved beyond them but there was to be some deserved reward as Trafford made another vital contribution with the last touch of the game as he dived at the feet of Knibbs to divert his effort wide and keep the U’s at bay.

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Almeida Santos, Johnston; Bradley, Morley, Dempsey, Iredale (Beck 78); Kachunga (Afolayan 72); Charles (Thomason 78), Bakayoko. Substitutes: Sadlier, Sheehan, Toal, Lee.

Booked: Kachunga, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, Santos, Beck.

Sent off: Dempsey

Cambridge United: Mannion; Williams, Okedina, Jones, Dunk; Lankester (Tracey 80), Digby, Simper, Brophy (Smith 80); Knibbs. Substitutes: Holden, Taylor, Janneh, Worman, Hoddle.

Booked: Jones, Digby.

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 6,819 (1,379 Bolton)

Read Time: 4 mins