Joe Dunne proud of Cambridge United performance in Exeter City defeat
U's coach hopes fans can see past score focus on positives of display
Joe Dunne has urged supporters to look beyond the result after Cambridge United suffered a smash-and-grab 3-2 defeat to Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two.
The U’s were the dominant force for long spells, with Jabo Ibehre giving them a first-half lead that was cancelled out by Jayden Stockley’s header after the break.
George Maris restored United’s advantage in the 67th minute, but two goals in three minutes – from Matty Jay and Jake Taylor – secured the Grecians the victory.
“Please, please, please don’t isolate the result, please,” said U’s interim head coach Dunne. “We’re working so hard and the team are working so hard and it’s some of the best football I’ve been involved in as a coach.
“The players are enjoying it, they are enjoying playing that way. We have our moments like today, but that’s what happens in football.
“We’re on the wrong end of it; we’ve been on the other side of it, winning in the last minute in other games. Please don’t just isolate the result, please see what the team are doing and keep encouraging the team because they love positive energy here.
“The energy from everybody was good. Overall, I’m disappointed with the result but really pleased with the team.
“Stick with them, they are a good group, they’re a young group, and potentially getting more performances like that.”
It was an impressive performance from the U’s where they were the dominant force in the first half, and deserved more than just Ibehre’s goal to show for it.
However, it was just at key moments in the second half that Exeter showed their promotion-chasing potential – and it proved to be enough.
“I’m really proud of the team to contribute to what was a great game, we want more of that,” said Dunne.
“Take away the little spell where they got their two goals when we kind of switched off, I thought overall I was really pleased with how we performed.
“We have been building to these attacking moments in games that we did a lot today, and played that front foot football and I thought we saw that a lot against a team going for automatic promotion.
“There were three injuries at key stages in the match and when you look at how the game went after those injuries – after the game restarted – they were the moments that we just needed to tighten up, and we didn’t; we got punished.
“However, I don’t want to take away from what I thought was a really good performance.”
It was another match in which the U’s have pushed one of the division’s leading lights to the limit, and Dunne believes it is a sign of the development of the side.
“I think we’re improving week by week,” he said. “I think our performances are improving week by week.
“I think if the season was starting now we’d be raving about how we might be a top-six team.
“We need to take as many positives out of the game, and keep taking positives.
“I think people will give my players the benefit of the doubt today.
“They’ve watched a really exciting, attacking performance and although we’ve lost the game I think everybody will agree that on another day we could have won.”