YOUTH TEAM | DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 2 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1
Cambridge United U18’s succumbed to their first league defeat in 13 games at Dagenham through a late headed winner, having led the game following an early Ben Worman strike.
United, lining up in their familiar 4-3-3 formation, made a number of changes to the team with Wednesday’s FA Youth Cup tie at the Cambs Glass Stadium with AFC Bournemouth in mind. Rotating the players and making five changes throughout the game, certainly disrupted the young U’s flow, and ultimately cost them any points in a game they could have won, and certainly should not have lost.
With Matthew Foy and Tom Knowles both rested completely, it was a different looking front line for the visitors, Ben Worman leading the line.
And it was Worman who opened the scoring after great work from Fernando Bell-Toxtle, beating his man just inside the box and pulling the ball back to Worman to tuck home inside the opening quarter of an hour.
The U’s deservedly led at the break on a bleak, grey morning in a game played on a muddy, heavy playing surface which prevented either side from breaking into a full flowing, high quality football match.
United made three changes at the break but were immediately pegged back, as Dagenham levelled inside the first two minutes. This woke the visitors up again and they played some good attacking football, creating a number of chances throughout the half. Prince Mutswunguma, Joe Neal, Jake Battersby and Sam Squire all had good opportunities, but all either missed the target or were well saved by the Dagenham shot stopper.
The Daggers turned the screw in the latter stages of the game, and sealed the points in the 85th minute. A wide free kick was headed home from six yards, with the Dagenham recipient thankful of an early Christmas gift as no U’s defender was within five yards of him.
Coach Mark Bonner said: “We are frustrated by the standard of the goals we have conceded and need to do better in those particular moments because we have thrown points away this morning.
“On a tough day and difficult surface we coped reasonably well and with the number of changes that we made going into the game and throughout, we adapted fine.
“Clearly, we could have ensured we got something from the game by keeping certain players on the pitch, or by playing players who we rested, but we are aware of the game on Wednesday and wanted to be certain we go into the Youth Cup in the best shape possible.
“Some of the younger players have had their first real taste of the youth team, and will have learned from the experience which will help them in the coming games.
“We now have a few days to prepare for the AFC Bournemouth game, which we know will be a tough test. Today’s result is one we need to bottle up and use the frustration in midweek, but we shouldn’t be too despondent. The players will be energised and ready for Wednesdays big game and will need to be at their very best to get on top of the game and gain success in the difficult game we have in front of us.”
Team; Iron, Mutswunguma, Squire, Worman (Neal 45), Shaw (Davies 65), Darling (Jeche 70), Johnson, Norville-Williams, Bell-Toxtle (Watkins 45), Lea (Emmis 45), Battersby
Tickets for the U18's FA Youth Cup Third Round clash with AFC Bournemouth can be purchased online here.
Tickets are priced just £5 for adults and £1 for Under 18s, with season ticket holders able to attend for FREE.