Football: Blues Clinical in Warwick Victory
The Blues adapt well to life a league up, winning 3-0 against Warwick.
Cambridge 3 – Warwick 0
In a match of intensity and little space, a clinical Cambridge triumphed on the day thanks to a precise volleyed finish from Antony Childs and a brace from the excellent Danny Ford.
As the sides lined up, traditional light-blue against the red and black of the visitors, the seemingly mandatory rousing pre-match shouting seemed especially ardent. Then again, this was the opening match of a new campaign, following last season’s successful promotion.
With the game underway, both outfits adopted a high-pressing style when not in possession; central defender James ‘JD’ Day’s urge to “squeeze” bringing about the equally pertinent “let’s get high” as response from the Warwick captain. Time in possession was at a premium, and a well-explored route for both Cambridge and the visitors was to look for the early ball to the front man. Indeed, classic number 9s of considerable strength and aerial ability were a factor at either end, burly Blue Haitham Sherif successfully linking up the play on numerous occasions.
There hadn’t yet been a moment of significance in front of goal. After a lengthy stoppage due to a serious Warwick injury, with around 15 minutes gone on the Hughes Hall clock, that moment came- proving to be worth the wait. Hit crisply, albeit unusually with the side of the foot, an accurately guided Childs strike was enough to beat the Warwick keeper. No more than a minute later it was Childs again, though this time the similarly located volley was sent speculatively looping over.
As the rest of the first half went by, the importance of width became increasingly apparent. Captain Ross Broadway was spreading the play quickly and intelligently to the wide men. A number of mazy runs from midfielders Rick Totten, Ben Tsuda, and Danny Ford, had Warwick on the back foot. Indeed, just before the referee was to signal the end of the 45, substitute striker Danny Kerrigon picked out a fine cross, his target Ford, tantalisingly hitting the post with a bullet header.
The second half saw a Warwick side of greater initial intensity looking to press the home side more tightly, to no avail. Despite a fairly even share of possession, it was still the light blues with the goal-scoring chances. Some fleet-footed work from Tsuda, seemingly in a more central role since the restart, and a deft lay off to Totten culminated in a stinging 25 yd drive, just palmed over by the Warwick keeper. It seemed a second Cambridge goal was on the cards, and not long after, just before the hour mark, Ford capitalised on some hesitant defending to strike from inside the area.
With 2-0 supposedly a ‘dangerous score line’, there may have been possibility of a Warwick comeback. Yet while the surly presence of the visiting forward- known only as ‘Javier’- showed flashes of potential (amid the beating of the turf in rage when a decision was not given his way), the Cambridge defensive unit was stubbornly solid throughout.
A third for Cambridge, making it a pair for Ford was to seal it; with the Light Blues wheeling away in celebration, the visitors could look forward to a long journey home.
Broadway, Cambridge captain, was rightly pleased with the victory: ‘It takes a lot of courage and character to take your footballing principles into the League above, where you expect teams to be better organised and test you every week.’
‘If we build on today’s start we can win the next game, so we’ll make sure we’re ready at Fenners next Wednesday.’