Cambridge United U16s 2 Liverpool U16s 2
Cambridge United’s U15/16 age group played host to Liverpool FC in another exciting Academy encounter under the floodlights of the Abbey Stadium last night.
Following on from the clash with Tottenham Hotspurs in October, the club’s oldest schoolboy age group were once again given the opportunity to feature on the first team pitch in front of a terrific crowd of 946 supporters.
Buoyed by the superb turnout, the U’s began the game the brighter of the two sides and took a deserved lead on 19 minutes, when a well-executed piece of play was finished expertly 12 yards from goal.
United continued to dominate first half proceedings, putting good pressure on the Reds when out of possession and linking up well to progress into the Liverpool third of the pitch and create opportunities in front of goal with ease.
However, the Reds came out of the blocks quicker in the second half and equalised in the 49th minute to balance the scoreline.
Despite both teams splitting possession of the ball during the second half, the visitors proved to be slightly more fruitful with efforts on goal and headed home a second to open up an advantage after the hour mark.
However, the young U’s outfit put in a determined shift during the closing stages and with two minutes left on the clock, equalised with a glancing header from a free kick to spark wild celebrations in the Main Stand.
Speaking after the game, Youth Development Phase Lead Coach Tom Pell commented: “We played very well in the first half and had we gone in at half time more than one goal in the lead, that wouldn’t have been an unfair refection of the game.
“However, Liverpool stayed in the match and kept us on the back foot during the second half, and we therefore found it difficult to get out of our third. We found a way in the end by playing down the sides of the pitch and the draw was probably the right result.
He continued: “This age group already has a lot of experience of playing against plenty of the bigger clubs, in fact they had already played Liverpool earlier in the season, so a big part of this game was about how the boys would react when performing on the Abbey Stadium pitch in front of the big crowd.
“It was a great lesson in being able to keep their focus during the game when there are other distractions in the stand, for example could they maintain their end product when being cheered by the crowd. We would like to thank all the supporters who came and made the experience as valuable as it was to the players.”
A full exclusive interview with Tom Pell will be available on CU Player very soon!