Head Coach Mark Bonner says last night’s 1-0 defeat against Newport County provided a great example of how the team can learn to grasp control of a game.
The U’s were forced to play without possession for long periods at Rodney Parade, against an Exiles side who both moved the ball well and peppered the U’s 18 yard box with good quality service all evening. Despite, holding firm for much of the night and missing a few key moments on the counter attack in both halves, the U’s were undone by Scott Twine’s late strike
Bonner commented: “For us, we weren’t quite able to use the chances that we had, which would have made it a smash and grab. Nonetheless, we have to find a way to make better use of those good chances.
“Despite not having all of the ball, we felt we created the best chances early on in the game and in the second half the opportunity that Knowlesy (Tom Knowles) has, you hope he might make contact with. And even at 1-0 down, Adam May has an instinctive one that goes just past the post.
“We have players that really want to chase and get after them, and I felt our boys took that task on well. We were patient in that and were waiting for our counter attacking moments. We defend our box brilliantly, and we know that from the number of clean sheets we’ve kept already. However, we can’t be reliant on that because eventually something will give when you defend your box so often. We need to like the ball a bit more.
“But in those games, when the pattern of play is like that, the team has to execute our counter attacking moments brilliantly, and probably too often tonight when we won the ball back, we didn’t maintain possession for long enough and the game got stretched too much. In the end, we didn’t quite have the legs to deal with that.
“So it wasn’t to be for us, not through a lack of effort, but we have to try and be better and look to get more control of those games. It was a tough one for us and we got the run around at times, but we can learn from that.”
United’s work ethic and determination could not be questioned in South Wales, and Bonner believes it’s this level of character that stands the U’s in good stead to make the necessary improvements moving forward.
He said: “In the moments that we have to dig in, grind and defend, I really think we have bags of character. I said to the players in the changing room after the final whistle, I love their attitude and I love their work ethic.
“We’ll only become a better team for these experiences.
“We now need to get ourselves ready for another big game on Saturday (against Morecambe).”
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