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Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris reflects on tonight’s Sky Bet League One defeat to Bolton Wanderers

Head coach Neil Harris was disappointed with the nature of the equalising goal that his Cambridge United side conceded during this evening’s 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Bolton Wanderers.

The U’s headed into the break after a positive opening 45 minutes a goal to the good courtesy of Sullay Kaikai’s deflected eighth-minute effort.

However, visiting Wanderers had the bit between their teeth at the start of the second half and they drew level through Paris Maghoma, who squeezed the ball in from a corner before Carlos Mendes Gomes’ volley sealed the victory.

Liam Bennett in action for Cambridge United against Bolton Wanderers on February 20, 2024. Picture: Simon Lankester
Liam Bennett in action for Cambridge United against Bolton Wanderers on February 20, 2024. Picture: Simon Lankester

And it was the manner in which United allowed the away side back into the contest that irked Harris, who was largely pleased with the overall display against a team that he is expecting to be promoted from Sky Bet League One this term.

“We played really well in the first half against a really, really top side and we ended strongly in the last 20 minutes,” he said.

“I was disappointed with the 20 minutes at the start of the second half. Bolton are a really good side, but they’ve dominated much more than they dominated tonight in every (other) game. They’re the best possession-based team in the league and they’ve got a lot of dangerous players. That’s why they’re going to get promoted and I wish them every luck with that.

“Tonight, we gave a really good account of ourselves. The second goal is a really good goal, an unbelievable ball and finish, but the first goal is really poor by us.

“You can’t play against the best side in the league and get beat by a set-play.”

The loss was compounded by the 90th-minute red card handed to Lyle Taylor.

The influential striker was involved in an off-the-ball incident with ex-United defender Jack Iredale and is facing up to the prospect of a three-game suspension, which includes this weekend’s derby against Peterborough United.

Harris did not see the alleged offence and will have to see it back before making a decision on whether to appeal or not.

He added: “I didn’t see what they gave the red card for. I’ve not seen it back and I’ve not spoken to the referee and I’m not going to see the referee and get myself in trouble.

“I’ll need to see it back and if there’s an opportunity to appeal then we will of course. If not, and it indicates that it’s the right decision, we’ll take our medicine.”

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