Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner hails ‘outstanding’ side’s performance during win over Bristol Rovers at Abbey Stadium

‘Outstanding’ – that was the verdict of head coach Mark Bonner after watching his Cambridge United side go top of the early Sky Bet League One standings after yesterday 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

Away to Rovers, who were unbeaten in their three league games ahead of the meeting, they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession at the sunny Abbey Stadium, but a well-organised United side grabbed the three points thanks to late goals from substitutes Fejiri Okenabirhia and Sullay Kaikai .

And Bonner was delighted with the way the U’s executed the game plan as they bounced back from the disappointment Tuesday’s home defeat to Stevenage.

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner.  Image: Simon Lankester
Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Image: Simon Lankester

The boss said: “I thought our performance was outstanding. From start to finish, everything we asked of them was mostly outstanding.

“There were a few picky details for me at certain points in the game, but I thought they executed brilliantly what we asked of them. We looked like a very good team today.

“Every game is different and it never looked like Tuesday (the loss to Stevenage). We knew they were desperate to start deep downfield, they had good bodies around him and we couldn’t chase them because they just wanted to pick us apart.

Cambridge United striker Fejiri Okenabirhie celebrates scoring against Bristol Rovers.  Image: Izzy Poles
Cambridge United striker Fejiri Okenabirhie celebrates scoring against Bristol Rovers. Image: Izzy Poles

“Patience in our defensive game was great. In the first half, we recovered a lot of balls, but turned them over too quickly.

“The defensive structure of the team was outstanding and some of our periods of ball play were good. We had some good attacking chances and scored a brilliant goal at a very important moment, but before that Jack (Stevens) made some important saves so we are happy with him. We are happy with three clean sheets in four games, that is quite impressive.

“We are really glad to respond with today’s victory to Tuesday’s defeat because we know that victories are hard to come by. And I think a win against them is a brilliant win because they’re going to be a really good side this year.”

For Okenabirhie, his goal was Cambridge’s first in the league since joining the club in the summer of 2022.

The striker spent much of the previous campaign on the sidelines with two hamstring injuries, but Bonner is happy to have him available again.

“The goal was great, it’s a kind of finish. “He played 25 minutes and got man of the match, which shows how good he was,” added Bonner.

“I thought he was great. Fe is in a very good position, he is doing great and has scored three goals this season. I am in awe of him and the impact he has had.”

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