Cambridge 3-1 Northampton: Ironside’s fine form continues as U’s waltz into 2nd round
By Sam Houston
Cambridge United successfully bounced back from the weekend’s miserable 4-1 loss to MK Dons as they saw off fellow East Anglian side Northampton Town 3-1 in the FA Cup last night. The starting 11, seven of which started in the disappointing defeat at Stadium MK, stayed defensively resilient against a flurry of early Cobblers attacks and displayed the full capabilities of this side’s offensive firepower with three great goals; the pick of the bunch being a well-struck effort from exciting 20-year-old prospect Ben Worman which soared past Cobblers keeper Liam Roberts from the edge of the area.
Northampton’s number 19 Kion Etete was the star of the show in the two sides 2-2 draw 10 days earlier, scoring one and setting up another for ex-U’s midfielder Paul Lewis, and Cambridge supporters would’ve feared that a similar performance would be in store when the loanee centre-forward deflected a long ball from U’s keeper Dimitar Mitov into the Cambridge goal – however this concern would have been short-lived as the goal was controversially ruled out for blocking the keeper whilst he released the ball and within mere minutes the ball had found its way into the opposing goal.
Forward Harvey Knibbs has struggled in front of goal recently, with the ex-Villa youngster only managing two league goals since the 19-20 season was cut short due to COVID, however it was his well-timed half volley that put Cambridge ahead. Joe Ironside winning headers against defenders that tower above him has become a familiar sight for U’s supporters, and this was again the case for Knibbs’ 13th minute strike.
A period of adversity followed for the side in yellow, as new signing Jubril Okedina was put under pressure on a number of occasions from the pacey attack of Northampton, however the result was further secured in the 40th minute as Sam Smith’s scrappy finish was bungled over the line. Jack Iredale turned the first match between the two sides on its head with a perfectly placed delivery to Sam Smith, and Northampton’s defence would’ve been feeling déjà vu when the two combined once again.
The second half continued in the same vein, with the quality of Cambridge attacks proving more effective than the quantity of Northampton’s. It took only three minutes for Cambridge to put the game beyond reasonable doubt; Ben Worman had his name plastered across the internet with his wonderstrike against Morecambe a fortnight ago, and whilst it would be hard to improve on that marvellous half-volley, the young midfielder further proved himself as a scorer of great goals as he hammered home an effort from 18 yards out that showed equal lashings of power and finesse.
Joe Ironside has established himself as top League One centre forward from his impressive goal numbers (8 in 18 starts this season) and thunderous headers however, for the second time in the game, “Big Joey” turned provider as his control and well-weighted layoff set up Worman.
Northampton managed to pull one back late via a Danny Rose header, but by that point the game was already out of sight for the
Cambridge will face either Exeter City or Bradford City following the FA-enforced replay of their fixture as a result of Exeter using an illegal sixth substitute. The third fixture between these two sides will now take place on Tuesday the 30th of November.