So that’s it- barring an improbable run to the Papa Johns Trophy final (or whatever it’s called now?) or an even-more improbable playoff appearance (we’re going up as fucking Champions, okay?) there will be no Wembley appearance for the U’s this season.
United’s FA Cup journey started and ended on Saturday at the hands of League One Shrewsbury Town, a team on a bad run of form, and on paper, there for the taking.
Bonner was forced into a few changes, with goalscoring sensations Mullin & Ironside unavailable it was left to Harvey Knibbs to lead the line, with Idris El Mizouni just behind him and a return to the team for Adam May after a short injury.
Shrewsbury appeared solid, but unremarkable, but with three defenders marking him closely Harvey Knibbs struggled to make much impact early on. There were chances for him and El Mizouni, but Shrewsbury had chances too, one in particular only staying out due to a last ditch clearance by Harrison Dunk.
The game was still there for the taking as the teams appeared for the second half, but Shrewsbury quickly stamped their mark on the game, pouncing on an underhit Adam May pass to drive in an effort from twenty yards past a helpless Mitov.
Shrewsbury made chances and it took the introduction of Wes Hoolahan to enable United to start having a bit more control of the game, and the introduction of attacking duo Tom Knowles and Andrew Dallas had little impact against a resolute Shrews defence. Whilst throwing everything forward in search of an equaliser the U’s were caught on the break two minutes before time to end any hopes of progression in the FA Cup this year.
It’s frustrating when you play well and still lose, but all credit to Shrewsbury who showed that they were a tough unit to break down. The U’s can hold their heads up high though, going toe to toe with League One opposition and showing they can compete. It would have been nice to go further in the cup for sure, but without fans is the lure of P*sh in the second round or a glamour tie in the third quite the same? The club would appreciate the prize money we’re sure, but the real goal this season has to be promotion, so perhaps the cup would have been a distraction.
Man of the Match: We can’t give it to Harrison Dunk every bloody game, as great as he was on Saturday. Hiram Boateng has been a revelation since joining on loan from MK Dons, and put in another classy performance on Saturday. Paul Barry if you’re reading, put your hand in your pocket in January please.
Soundtrack of the Match:
United: Mitov, Knoyle, Cundy, Taylor, Dunk, Hannant, May (Hoolahan), El Mizouni (Dallas), Boateng, Iredale (Knowles), Knibbs