A step up from Plymouth Argyle - Cambridge United boss salutes Portsmouth atmosphere and side’s ability to deal with Fratton heat
Mark Bonner saluted his side’s ability to deal with the intensity of Fratton Park’s atmosphere after a landmark victory.
Cambridge United picked up their first-ever success at PO4 on Saturday, as they delivered a 2-1 success.
His men did that in front of a crowd of 15,330, with Blues fans dealing with entry issues ahead of kick-off.
The U’s have travelled to Accrington and Plymouth so far this season, but Bonner felt what they encountered at Pompey’s home was a level above anything they’ve faced before.
He said: ‘It was the first time in front of this kind of atmosphere.
‘It built in the first half and it built in the second half when they scored.
‘It was another level up from Plymouth, when we suffered at times there without the ball in front of a real boisterous crowd.
‘You know what it’s like, the atmosphere was outstanding - it’s the biggest we’ve played in.
‘We had some big games last season but no atmospheres to play in.
‘It’s another step up from Plymouth when the home crowd got behind them.
‘There’s bigger to come, but this is why we’re here and the experiences we want to keep coming through - but we handled it well.’
Cambridge had to deal with constant Pompey pressure, but did so impressively before hurting Danny Cowley’s side on the counter-attack with Joe Ironside’s 38th-minute header.
They then extended their lead with Liam O’Neil’s spectacular 69th-minute drive from outside the box, before seeing the game out through seven minutes of stoppage time.
Bonner said: ‘I thought we were good value for it.
‘We knew we were going to suffer without the ball and give up certain areas, so you end up deep for large periods.
‘When they get six players in the attacking line you end up really deep, but I felt we defended well and controlled what they could do when they had it quite well.
‘Once we got through the first nervy couple of minutes, I felt we played with some control and didn’t get too erratic and frantic.
‘We showed control and composure mentally, which was a big thing for us.
‘We ended up getting very deep and soaking up pressure, but you can’t come here and expect to defend. We had to be excellent at times.’
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