Date: 26th August 2017 at 5:13pm
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Morecambe`s record against Cambridge United resembles a sort of sandwich: they won the first two and the last two encounters between the clubs but had a filling of three straight defeats in a row, including their record seven-nil reverse against the U`s just two years ago at the Abbey Stadium. The Shrimps` form so far this term has been absolutely even with a win on the first day being followed by a draw and then a loss last Saturday at home against perennial Nemesis Swindon Town. Cambridge, on the other hand, endured a poor start to the season with three straight defeats in all competitions followed by their only points of the campaign so far with an away win at Crawley last Saturday.

United started on the front foot today with Uche Ikpeazu playing Ade Azeez in only for the latter to completely miss the target with his shot and less than sixty seconds on the clock. Ikpeazu then had a chance himself after five minutes but his shot was deflected over for a corner from which Medy Elito`s effort was deflected for another corner. Straight after that, Greg Taylor headed a deep cross from Jevani Brown over the bar and with just eight minutes gone, George Maris found himself beyond the visiting defence but squandered the chance by smashing his effort straight at Barry Roche in the Shrimps` net as the goal beckoned. With Brown causing all sorts of problems for the visitors, Azeez walloped a shot into the side netting after eighteen minutes to the disappointment of many U`s fans in the ground who initially thought he had hit the target. And so it went on with United causing all the problems and asking all the questions and Roche and his defenders manfully keeping them out. But half time arrived without a goal and – more disappointingly from the Lancashire team`s point of view – David Forde in the home goal being a mere spectator and not being called upon to make even a simple save all the way through the game so far and Leon Legge seemingly effortlessly marshalling the home defence.

Jim Bentley reshuffled his pack at half time, taking off Mitchell Lund (who had already been booked) and Patrick Brough in an attempt to change the pattern of the play. Although the U`s continued to dominate possession, the visitors eventually forced Forde into action when he did well to recover after initially fumbling a powerful free kick from Michael Rose after 51 minutes. But Shaun Derry`s team continued to have the best of the things and Dean Winnard pulled-off a tremendous last-ditch tackle to deny Ikpeazu again after 55 minutes just after Roche had again frustrated Azeez with another good save a minute earlier. As the match grew older, however, it became a bit more of a contest and although Cambridge continued to create the bulk of the chances, Garry Thompson`s shot after 68 minutes which only just cleared the United crossbar was probably the closest anyone came during the match and Andy Fleming also narrowly missed the target with a shot ten minutes later. But at the end of the game, the Shrimps clung on to a point which was well-deserved if only for the battling qualities they showed throughout today`s performance. Cambridge will play worse this season and win but Morecambe can be happy to return up north with a result that puts them into fifteenth position in League Two, three places higher than today`s opponents.

Cambridge United: 1 David Forde; 2 Brad Halliday; 6 Leon Legge; 5 Greg Taylor; 11 Harrison Dunk; 21 Medy Elito (15 Emmanuel Osadebe 72 mins); 4 Gary Deegan; 20 Jevani Brown; 18 George Maris (7 Piero Mingoia 72 mins); 10 Ade Azeez (14 Jabo Ibehre 78 mins); 9 Uche Ikpeazu.

Substitutes not used: 13 Dimitar Mitov; 3 Jake Carroll; 16 Liam O`Neil; 25 Hary Darling.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 6 Dean Winnard; 4 Alex Kenyon; 5 Steven Old (22 Max Müller 76 mins); 3 Patrick Brough (14 Luke Conlan (Y) 45 mins); 8 Andy Fleming; 15 Aaron Wildig; 11 Kevin Ellison; Michael Rose (C); 17 Mitchell Lund (Y)(2 Aaron McGowan 45 mins); Garry Thompson.

Substitutes not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 10 Adam Campbell; 19 Reece Deakin; 21 Elliot Osborne.
Ref: Graham Horwood