Cambridge can still be promoted tomorrow (01/05) if Morecambe and Tranmere Rovers fail to winBen Phillips

Cambridge United have missed out on a second consecutive chance at automatic promotion to Sky Bet League One this evening (30/04) after a shocking nine-goal thriller ended in a 5-4 defeat at fifteenth-placed Harrogate Town.

In a first half, which saw goals rain even harder than the torrents of water coming down on the players, Cambridge, who needed just a point from tonight’s fixture to secure promotion, looked relatively settled in the opening ten minutes, as Hannant had a low shot saved in the sixth minute, before the ball crashed off the Harrogate woodwork just a minute later.

The proceedings grew quite interesting as Harrogate took the script with both hands and defiantly threw it out of the window, with Fallowfield driving forward down the right-wing and crossing into Kiernan who flicked the ball in to make it 1-0 in the ninth minute. Just four minutes later, an almost carbon-copy move saw Kiernan move down the right and back-heel to Fallowfield, who once again smashed the ball in from the right, with Mark Beck slotting home for 2-0.

Mullin then received a high cross from the right for Cambridge but flashed it wide of the far post in the seventeenth minute as proceedings stayed at 2-0. However, just as Cambridge momentarily got back into the game, Harrogate launched a ball forwards which was weakly headed back to Burton by Taylor, as Kiernan intercepted the loose ball for Harrogate, and Burton made a late challenge to give the penalty, receiving a yellow card. Kiernan then smashed the ball to Burton’s right from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 in the twentieth minute.

The U’s then grew back into the game and reduced the deficit after Hoolahan rifled in a nod-down from Ironside to make it 3-1 in the twenty-sixth minute, before Hannant picked up the ball on the half-turn and smashed the ball in for 3-2 three minutes later. However, a high-tempo Harrogate drove forwards once again, with Thomson driving a shot on goal from the right which Burton failed to gather, leaving the ball free for Kiernan to slot in for his hat-trick to make it 4-2 to the home side at half-time.

The second half saw the rain ease off and Hondemarck have a low shot from outside the area saved, as Harrogate tried to take the tempo out of the game and halt a Cambridge comeback. However, with increased pressure from the U’s, Hoolahan whipped the ball in the box towards the far corner, which Mullin thundered into the roof of the net in the fifty-ninth minute to make it 4-3. Cambridge then further ramped up their efforts and eventually won a penalty, which Mullin drove into the bottom left corner to bring the game to 4-4 in the seventy-fourth.

After further free-flowing offensive play from Cambridge, with a glancing header from Taylor almost making it 4-5 in the away side’s favour in the 77th minute, Kevin Lotto picked up a volley for Harrogate and slotted into the bottom left corner with a flat-footed shot six minutes from time to astonishingly win the game 5-4 for the home side.

Tonight marks the second consecutive opportunity Cambridge United have had to secure automatic promotion after they succumbed to a 0-1 defeat against Stevenage at home last Saturday (24/04), with Luke Norris heading in a rebound for the away side in the 63rd minute.


Mountain View

Cambridge United Builds Community Relations With Mill Road Mosque

Earlier in the week, Mark Bonner, Cambridge United’s Head Coach, told Varsity: “I’ve had quite a lot of well wishes this week from people, as have the players. We know we’ve connected with people and we know we’re giving them something they’re enjoying watching. Ultimately that’s the main target we set out to do at the beginning of the year. We’re in the job to try to entertain people, to try to give them something to be proud of and the fact we’ve played our part in helping some people through a tough time is obviously great from that perspective.”

Cambridge United, who remain in second place following tonight's result, could still achieve promotion tomorrow (01/05) should fourth-placed Morecambe and fifth-placed Tranmere Rovers fail to respectively defeat Walsall and Forest Green Rovers.

Meanwhile, first-placed Cheltenham Town secured promotion following a 1-1 draw against Carlisle on Tuesday night (27/04), and will win the Sky Bet League Two title tomorrow if they beat Newport and third-placed Bolton fail to beat Exeter.

Harrogate Starting XI: Cracknell, Fallowfield, Smith, Lokko, Roberts, Thomson, Williams, Francis, Hondermarck, Kiernan, Beck

Cambridge Starting XI: Burton, Knoyle, Drysdale, Taylor, Iredale, Digby, Hannant, Boateng, Hoolahan, Ironside, Mullin