“We’re delighted to come out with a point, but it’s certainly a really good game for us to take some lessons from…”
Mark Bonner was pleased with the character his side showcased as they shared the spoils with Charlton Athletic at the Valley.
“We had to defend long, long periods in the first half. One, because we probably didn’t sustain our own attacks or maintain possession well enough, and secondly, the importance of the first goal is big but we came back from that.
“In the second half, we stepped on even more and became a bit more dominant and progressive with the ball – I thought we were the better team and perhaps might have been able to carve open a chance to take the win.
“But we’re delighted to take a point and, probably on the balance of things, I think it’s fair.”
In similar circumstances to midweek, United found themselves undone with a sucker-punch moments before half-time. Enough to frustrate any side, the visitors simply rolled their sleeves up and their fightback credentials were rewarded.
“Their goal is probably a consequence of pressure and us having to defend diagonals and crosses quite often, but I thought we defended our box well. It’s a killer when that goes in, but I am actually really encouraged by the response of the players.
“There’s a bouncebackability there, a resilience, which we need.”
After growing back into the encounter, Bonner’s men grabbed the equaliser and earned a foothold on the clash. The Head Coach was quick to highlight his wingers and goalscorer Harvey Knibbs’ impressions on the game – who at times stretched and suffocated the Addicks’ backline.
“A major part of his (Harvey’s) game for us is his out-of-possession work. He’s an excellent transition player but the side of his game we want to be improving is we want to see goals and an attacking threat. He almost plays two positions for us - that’s a tough demand, but he can do that physically.
“I thought the wide players played well. A really tricky game for them, but Shilow started the game on fire and was a real threat, and Brophs got better as the game went on in the second half.
The intention was, of course, to go out and win the game from there. However, the U’s had an unexpected storm to weather – they passed that test admirably.
“We weren’t able to dominate as much as we wanted to. We made the change for Joey to secure the ball, we felt we had momentum at that point and I thought we could deliver some crosses and try and score a winning goal. It so happened they shifted the game the other way and we had to defend for our lives.
“But that’s what we are. After five really tough games, we sit with seven points - which I think is really good for us.”