City’s attacking malaise continued on Easter Monday with yet another underwhelming display in a 0-0 draw against lowly Mansfield, leaving Matt Taylor scratching his head about how a side that was once free scoring is now not even creating chances let alone scoring them. When Nicky Law departed and wasn’t replaced, and with Nicky Ajose persona non grata, the worry amongst City supporters was about a lack of attacking options, and this is borne out currently with Ryan Bowman failing to find the net since returning from suspension, Ben Seymour and loanee Robbie Willmott looking ineffective and Joel Randall being injured. Taylor needs to find the winning formula and fast otherwise a mid-table finish beckons – starting with a trip to the surprise leaders on Saturday. One bright spot was that Randell Williams completed 45 minutes unscathed as he returns from his knee injury.
Despite the addition of veteran Wes Hoolahan, not many pundits would have predicted that into the final month of the season Cambridge would be sitting atop the table, but a recent run of four wins and a draw in their last five has seen the Us pull clear in the promotion race, Mark Bonner having transformed a team that were looking over their shoulder last season. The big difference has been the explosion of Paul Mullin – a striker who up to this season had been a middling striker with the likes of Morecambe and Tranmere, but has clicked this time around to break the Cambridge single season goals record with 28 in the league (30 overall) and has, as a result, had a stand named after him for the remainder of the season. Able support has been provided by Joe Ironside with 11. One player who will be particularly keen to impress will be loanee Hiram Boateng, the former City midfielder has been featuring more of late having spent a couple of months out injured.
Cambridge were unbeaten when they made the long trip to Devon but a Matt Jay penalty and a goal from Randall sealed the points in a 2-0 win. City will be anxious to avoid a repeat of last season’s trip to the Abbey, which produced what was considered a shock result in a 4-0 thrashing through goals from Hannant, Roles, Taft and Dallas. The league head to head record sees Cambridge with a slight lead, 24 wins to City’s 22, 11 matches finishing level. 50 of those last matches can be viewed at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9355
The match officials for the game will be:-
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistant Referees: Ryan Whitaker and Richard Morris
Fourth Official : Will Finnie
Kevin Johnson has taken charge of 15 Exeter games, the most recent being the drubbing of Tranmere Rovers at the Park in December. All the details at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=%22kevin+johnson%22