Mark Bonner hopes Cambridge United youngsters can learn from FA Youth Cup defeat
U's suffer loss to Scunthorpe United
Mark Bonner was at a loss to understand why Cambridge United under-18s struggled to reproduce their good form this season as they were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Scunthorpe.
The young U’s have been performing well week in week out, but in the second round clash at the Cambs Glass Stadium they froze, and it resulted in a 1-0 defeat after an unfortunate own goal from Stevan Shaw.
But it was the display that perplexed academy manager Bonner.
“I was massively disappointed,” he said. “It was so far below the level they need to get to to get into the first-team squad and so far below the level that they are capable of playing as well.
“Fair play to Scunthorpe, they made the game tough for us and passed the ball well, but we didn’t get close enough to them.
“We didn’t use the ball well enough, turned it over and gave it away all night, and we didn’t look like scoring in the second half and almost looked a little bit defeated at 1-0 down.
“There is so much to learn from that game and we’re really disappointed because there is so much better in the team than there was there tonight, and they have shown it so many times, even in the last round at Peterborough and in the league season as well.
“Their job is to respond and do it again.”
It was not the type of performance that may have been expected after the early stages, when the U’s made a great start, earning a corner in the first minute and hitting a post minutes later.
“We came flying out of the traps and then it fizzled out a little bit,” said Bonner. “The goal right on half time kills us a little bit.
“It did deflate us too much. We came out in the second half and that game fizzled out too quickly for us. We didn’t look like we had the real intent to go on and win it.
“To be honest, it probably looked like they might have got a second goal on the breakaway rather than us scoring because we haven’t tested the goalkeeper or created enough good chances.
“We need to be better than that. It’s disappointing because you expect the players in these games to really thrive on it and deliver what they are capable of, and they haven’t so it’s a big lesson for them.”