Match Preview | Cambridge United vs Port Vale | News

The Valiants will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat to Burton Albion when we travel to Cambridge United in Sky Bet League One action.

Vale suffered their second defeat of the season on Tuesday, losing 3-2 at home to Burton Albion. Despite Vale’s early dominance, it was the Brewers who took the lead after just ten minutes when Berili Lubala headed home Tom Hamer’s cross.

The Valiants continued to dictate the game despite scoring a goal and finally tied the game with five minutes left in the half. Connor Grant crossed from the left to Ben Garrity, who struck the net inside the post.

The Valiants continued to dominate after the break but Max Crocombe stood firm in the Burton goal and repeatedly thwarted Vale.

Five minutes after the break the visitors went ahead again when Steve Seddon fired home from close range after Vale had failed to clear a corner from the right.

Ten minutes later Burton doubled their lead when Kwadwo Baah won the ball in midfield before driving into the box and firing past Connor Ripley into the top left corner.

Vale pulled a goal back in the 86th matchth minute when the ball fell beautifully to Ollie Arblaster, who volleyed into the back of the net. Despite heavy pressure late in the match, Vale were unable to equalize and suffered their first defeat since the opening day of the season.

Crosby’s comments

“We reviewed Tuesday’s game as a group, honestly and responsibly. We will treat every game the same, whether we win, draw or lose.

“We’ll look back at the game, I looked at it yesterday. I was delighted that we had the ball for long periods of time in this game, I thought we were the dominant force, we pushed Burton back, we kept possession, we kept attacking, we created more chances than we had in previous games, their goalie had a really good night. “Unfortunately, we made a few defensive mistakes that we are responsible for both individually and collectively, but we will look at it, we will learn from it and we’ll approach the next game the same way.”


Cambridge United are currently in 11th position after scoring 12 points in his first seven league games this season. The U’s have won four and lost three in the league. Their victories have come against Oxford United, Fleetwood Town, Bristol Rovers and most recently Reading, whom they beat 1-0 in front of the sports cameras on Monday September.

Their win over the Royals was the last time they took maximum points. They have since lost 2-0 to Peterborough in the EFL Trophy and then lost 2-1 to Wigan Athletic last Saturday.

Opposition Manager’s Thoughts

Here’s what Cambridge United manager Mark Bonner said ahead of Saturday’s match:

“There’s no doubt they’re a very, very good team playing a style that’s a little different to what they’ve been doing. They recruited well in the summer, a very wide, very open ball team. I was very impressed with them.

“They’re actually very similar in style to some of the teams we’ve played against recently, so we need to make sure we’re in the best shape to be competitive, can come out on top and then try to control the game ourselves.”

Player to watch – Elias Kachunga

Kachunga began his Bundesliga career with Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he came through their youth system and made two appearances for the Foals before joining Paderborn. When Paderborn were relegated in 2015, he moved to Ingolstadt O4 for a club record €1.7 million. Shortly after his transfer, he joined Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan. In March 2017, the Terriers made their loan permanent, offering Ingolstadt £1.1 million. He played over 100 games for Huddersfield Town, helping them achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Kachunga was released by Huddersfield at the end of the 2019–20 season, shortly after being signed by Sheffield Wednesday, for whom he played 27 times. After one season at Hillsborough, Kachunga was released and signed for Bolton Wanderers, where he played 70 times over two seasons. He also scored in their 4-0 win over Plymouth Argyle last season. He was selected by U in the summer of 2023 and has played eight games this season, scoring one goal.

Kachunga also represented two international teams. He has represented Germany at all youth levels, from under-17s to under-21s. He made his debut for DR Congo in 2017, where he played his only cap in a 2-1 friendly defeat to Ghana.

Last season results

Cambridge United 0-1 Port Vale, Saturday 22 Februarynd October 2022.

In the first meeting between the sides last season, the Valiants won 1-0 thanks to Paul Digby’s side. The only goal of the game was scored at minute when Will Forrester cut down the right and sent a low cross into the box which was somehow redirected into the net by the Cambridge skipper sliding just inside the box to help Vale take three away points.

Port Vale 0-2 Cambridge United, Saturday 1st. April 2023

Vale dominated the ball in the first half but failed to make it count, missing several chances to take the lead. Funso Ojo had the best chance of the game shortly after the break, but his shot from outside the area was cleverly saved by the Cambridge goalkeeper. This save from Will Mannion allowed his team to keep the tie and it proved to be the turning point.

Just minutes after Ojo missed the chance, the U’s took the lead through their top scorer Sam Smith. James Brophy’s cross from the right was met by Jack Lankester and his initial effort was well saved by Aidan Stone, but the rebound fell to Sam Smith, who fired home to give his side the lead. Just four minutes later their lead was doubled when Lloyd Jones headed in a free-kick from Connor McGrandles at the near post. A chaotic four-minute period decided the game as Vale failed to get back into the game and suffered a 2-0 home defeat.


Christopher Pollard will take charge of Saturday’s match against Cambridge United, assisted by Daniel Bonniwell and David Harrison. Daniel Cook was chosen as the game’s fourth referee.

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