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Mark Bonner applauds Cambridge United’s ‘far from comfortable’ victory over Carlisle United in Sky Bet League Two

Joe Ironside scored Cambridge United's third goal against Carlisle United. Picture: Simon Lankester
Joe Ironside scored Cambridge United's third goal against Carlisle United. Picture: Simon Lankester

Mark Bonner felt that the scoreline did not demonstrate how tough a game it was for Cambridge United as they beat Carlisle United 3-0 in Sky Bet League Two at the Abbey Stadium.

The U’s raced into a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes - with Luke Hannant and Paul Mullin scoring - but the Cumbrians fought back to bombard the hosts.

They stood firm though, and completed their scoring in the 86th minute, through Joe Ironside’s first goal for the club.

“It was far from comfortable, and no-one should be deceived by the scoreline because it was really difficult,” said U’s head coach Bonner.

“We’re delighted with the result, it’s a massive clean sheet and we had to really earn that.

“We went in knowing that the game was going to look very different to the last few we played, as will the next week, and that’s a real eye-opener that the season has started because that went up in the level of intensity and direction.

“They were relentless in how they attacked, created lots of chances but we defended the box well. We scored the third goal at a really important time.

“We want to be a fast-starting team, I’m so pleased with the first two goals we scored, I thought they were excellent.

“They were really good goals, and Joe showed us what he can give us as the focal point of the team. He wins the first flick on, and Luke takes his goal really well; it is an area of his game that we want more from, goals and assists.

“We spoke about yesterday, and he knows he had got to add that to his game and he has got the quality to do it.

The second goal was a nice pass wide from (Paul) Digby, brilliant cross from Kyle (Knoyle) and a good bit of movement from Mullin and a great connection with the header.

“It’s really pleasing that both strikers have scored, because I thought the third goal Joe took really well. It was again some brilliant attacking play by Kyle down the right, nice composure to create the chance.”

Equally as important as the goals, was the defensive resilience.

Greg Taylor, Robbie Cundy and Paul Digby stood firm against all the balls into the area, winning countless headers.

Bonner said: “We defended the box well, but we didn’t have enough control in the second half - maybe clearances or how the game was and we became a little disconnected and disjointed, but that is what a team like that does when it is constantly putting on you.

“To get through a game like that with a clean sheet, and show a bit of back bone, resilience and strength, something that has been missing from us in recent seasons, if we can have that as a start point, we will need it again in the next week and probably 45 times throughout the season.

“In a tough game, to come out with a clean sheet is excellent.”

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