Robbie Nightingale out to get Cambridge City to be patient
Lessons learnt in defeat to AFC Dunstable
Robbie Nightingale is urging Cambridge City to learn the art of patience when they take on obstinate sides.
The Lilywhites have climbed their way to second in the Evo-Stik League, South East Division table, and prepared themselves for the imposing threat of AFC Dunstable on Monday night by beating fourth-placed Hartley & Wintney 2-1 last Saturday.
But City failed to reach the same heights against the Bedfordshire side at Westwood Road, and slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat.
“We put a lot of effort into the game on Saturday, got a fantastic result, and then never really got going against Dunstable,” said City boss Nightingale.
“Credit to them, they had a good shape and defended their box better than we did.
“We hit the post in the first half and they had one or two off the line, but it was one of those where if we scored early enough and put enough pressure on them then we may well have gone on.
“But credit to them as they are a good side and have a lot of experience in there and I fully expect them to be in the top six at the end of April. They’ve got goals, they’ve got a physical presence and they are a strong team, while we were not quite at it.”
City had needed two goal-line clearances in the first 15 minutes against Dunstable, both coming from captain Ian Miller, but they got on top of the game to dominate for the rest of the half.
Ryan Sharman had a scuffed effort saved down low by Dunstable keeper Jamie Head, who then did well to push Salim Relizani’s shot on to the post.
However, City were unable to keep that momentum into the second half.
Dunstable were happy to defend their 18-yard line, and then they landed the sucker punch with a 66th minute goal from BJ Christie and a second in the 86th minute from Jermaine Hall.
“We didn’t have enough patience,” said Nightingale.
“We didn’t move them around quick enough, we got them into a position where we wanted to attack and then we’d force a ball and it would break down because of how strong they were defensively.
“There are things for us to look at. We’re disappointed because the performance level that we’ve shown has not been what’s got us to where we are now, and it’s one game, one defeat but we will go again Saturday which is a massive game for us.
“We dust ourselves down very quickly, we spoke about the errors and defending our box; if we’d have defended like they defended then it’s 0-0 written all over it.”
Next up for City is an equally challenging fixture at home to leaders Moneyfields today (Saturday, November 25).
“This was a good game against a team that sets up very well and we had to try to find a way of breaking them down, sadly we couldn’t find a way in,” said Nightingale.
“Moneyfields will be a lot more aggressive than Dunstable. They are a very physical team, they are a team of giants so we need to move the ball quickly, do it with purpose and be patient.”
It was a particularly disappointing result after City had started a tough run of fixtures with the 2-1 win at Hartley & Wintney.
Tom Knowles had given the Lilywhites the lead through a penalty in the first half, but the hosts equalised before half time.
However, Sharman’s powerful downward header in the 54th minute secured City victory.
And Sharman’s goal helped him create a club record, becoming the first City player to score in 10 consecutive league games.