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Cambridge United ruin penalty spot at training ground as practice makes perfect with Carabao Cup spot-kick success over Championship Brentford

Harvey Knibbs scored Cambridge United's winning penalty against Brentford.
Harvey Knibbs scored Cambridge United's winning penalty against Brentford.

Colin Calderwood has admitted that the players have “a right mess of the penalty spot” at their training ground - but it has ended up reaping rewards for Cambridge United.

They progressed to the second round of the Carabao Cup with a sudden death 5-4 penalty shootout success against Championship side Brentford, after the sides had drawn 1-1.

Harvey Knibbs tucked away the winning spot-kick after keeper Callum Burton had saved two of the Bees’ penalties - with both players on debut.

Luke Hannant, Harrison Dunk, Reggie Lambe and Harry Darling had all scored from spot for the U’s, while Paul Lewis was denied by a terrific stop from Brentford keeper Luke Daniels.

Burton had saved from Emilliano Marcondes and then denied Luka Racic’s tame effort in sudden death.

However, it was not something for which the U’s had prepared.

“We didn’t practice them at all - it’s one of the things we left out,” said U’s head coach Colin Calderwood.

“After training, they’ve been having various penalty competitions on their own - made a right mess of the penalty spot on our training pitch so we’ve had to put a new one in.

“We’ve got another cup tie so we will allow them to take a couple of penalties without setting it up like sometimes you have to.”

It means that they booked a second round trip to another Championship side, this time Swansea City.

And with debuts for Burton, from the off, and Knibbs, from the bench, it showed the depth in United’s ranks, and there were plenty of displays that caught the eye across the team.

“You can see we’re really strong in depth around the goalkeeper area,” said Calderwood. “Callum was excellent and calm, kicked well.

“We’re a wee bit annoyed without ourselves that he [Knibbs] got himself injured through the early part of pre-season because we saw really good signs.

“He’s hit the ground running, which is always nice for a goalscorer.

“I can see things in Dallas that I really, really like.

“In most games he plays in he ends up in and around the chance, or helps with a chance.”

“I thought Harry Darling and Leon Davies being younger players stood up to the movement and physicality, and Louis (John) slotted in really well and found his foot quickly in the game.

“That is testament to a bit of professionalism, good attitude, listening in training. We don’t teach XI, we try to teach a group of 20 to 21.

“We saw some reward for that tonight.”

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