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Mark Bonner relishes the challenge for Cambridge United in League One after Lincoln City defeat

Joe Ironside pulls a goal back for Cambridge United against Lincoln City. Picture: Simon Lankester (51198683)
Joe Ironside pulls a goal back for Cambridge United against Lincoln City. Picture: Simon Lankester (51198683)

Mark Bonner intends to treat Cambridge United’s 5-1 defeat to Lincoln City as a work in progress in adjusting to life in Sky Bet League One.

It was the worst possible start for the U’s as they fell behind to Hakeeb Adelakun’s opener inside just 24 seconds.

There was then a virtuoso performance from the Imps’ Anthony Scully, a former Comberton Village College student, who added to his assist for the first goal with two goals and two more assists, for Conor McGrandles and Lewis Fiorini.

Joe Ironside had scored for United with the score at 4-0.

In his pre-match press call, Bonner had predicted that the challenge against Lincoln would be “another level up” from what they had faced since being promoted to League One and, unfortunately, was not to be disappointed. And he is anticipating similar away at Portsmouth this Saturday (September 18).

“It might be another one next week because that’s the league we’re in now,” said the U’s head coach.

“I think it’s a good challenge for us, that’s how you have to see it. We wanted to get here, but we shouldn’t expect it to always go our own way and exactly how we want it to go.

“We will have another big test next week and we know that is one we’ve got to get ready for but Lincoln have certainly caused us some problems and I’m sure they will say that was the most productive game of the season for them in terms of points, goals and opportunities. Credit to them as I thought we were excellent.”

After encouraging wins over previously unbeaten Burton Albion and Bolton Wanderers, and a draw with Oxford United, it is easy to wonder whether the introduction to League One starts now.

“I don’t think so,” said Bonner.

“We’ve recognised the step up from the league below in every single game, where we’ve had to play really well to get the points we’ve got from them.

“At the early stages of the season, if you try to evaluate what the season is going to look like after 46 games when you have played five, six, even 10 games, everyone’s pre-season can look very different.

“Injuries, Covid, off the back of a long season and a short break last year, everyone is a bit all over the place, and the transfer window has just shut so teams are just now starting to adjust but lots are starting to sign free agents so I think it just keeps playing out.

“We know there’s going to be some really tricky games along the way, but we also know we’re not a bad side and we’ve seen that a few times already this season.

“Actually, we saw it in patches against Lincoln. People hate hearing that when you’ve been beat, and we don’t like being beat, but we’re working towards what we want to be, and if there has to be a few bad ones along the way then so be it – there was a few last year.”

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