Mark Bonner believes Cambridge United showed character and quality to record their comeback victory at Oldham Athletic.
The U’s rallied from two goals down to claim a 4-2 victory at Boundary Park, with Paul Mullin, Jack Iredale and Luke Hannant on the scoresheet for United.
Bonner’s side got off to the worst possible start, finding themselves two goals behind inside 11 minutes, but the U’s responded to take a 3-2 lead into the interval.
Hannant’s goal 17 minutes from time secured United’s sixth win on the road since the turn of the year and kept United second in the League Two table.
“I think they’re up there with the top scorers in the league, and they’ve conceded the most in the league, and the game’s probably reflective of that,” the head coach told the club website.
“It’s hard to control a team that plays in such an open fashion, and almost without the control that perhaps other teams have played with. It becomes a really open game and a transition game.
“If you give the ball away, you’re in trouble, and you give it away cheap, and we did that way too simply in the early part of the game, and we weren’t there.
“To be two down away from home in that moment is a disastrous start, but they do it again.
“The boys are full of character, and actually as the game goes on, full of quality.
“I thought the performance from the first goal onwards for that half was outstanding. We took the space they gave us, we moved the ball really well, we looked a constant threat on their goal, and over the course of the 45 minutes we deserved to go in ahead.
“Games don’t usually look like that for us, but I’m delighted that it has gone our way.”
Mullin’s strike midway through the first half took his tally to 24 league goals for the season, equalling David Crown’s goalscoring record for the most goals scored by a Cambridge United player in a single Football League campaign.
The U’s also had Callum Burton to thank midway through the second half, with the goalkeeper saving a penalty with the score at 3-2.
“Mullin, great, but he’s not done yet,” Bonner added.
“Callum Burton’s [save was] terrific at such a key time. Cal’s record at saving them is very good, and we needed it at that point in the game.
“Then the goal that comes from Luke (Hannant) really makes the game a little bit more comfortable for us, even though they’re always in it.”
United made five changes from their defeat at Bolton Wanderers, with Bonner opting to play an entirely different midfield from Tuesday’s defeat.
The changes were reflective of a busy fixture schedule, with the U’s ending a spell of seven games in a three week period with a win.
“It’s tough isn’t it, when players come into the team that haven’t played, or have not played together,” the head coach said.
“A whole new midfield four, Aji (Alese) playing his first game for us, sometimes it’s hard to make that adjustment quickly.
“No team has recovered more points from losing positions than they have in the league this year. They’re always in a game, so it makes it a really tough challenging afternoon.
“Ultimately, at the end of a really tough three and a half weeks, where we’ve been up and down the country, and we’ve had really tough games, it’s great to be going into the next block with almost everybody fit, and in the race with about ten other teams.”