Opposition view: Bonner reveals the key to stopping 'aggressive' Cobblers in FA Cup replay

'The way they play can make it a hard game to control but I thought we did well and had some good possession.'

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 8:45 am
Mark Bonner.

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner explained what the key was to nullifying Northampton' s 'aggressive' style of play during Tuesday's victory in the FA Cup.

Bonner was unhappy at the stretched and open manner of the original tie at Sixfields and called on his team to have more control second time round at the Abbey Stadium.

That they did as Sam Smith added to Harvey Knibbs' opener in the first-half before Ben Worman secured United's place in round two with a rasping finish early in the second period.

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"We wanted to respond well from Saturday and we wanted to play better than we did when we went to their place," said Bonner. "I thought, at times, we played some really good football and we looked a real attacking threat.

"We had to defend against some aggressive forward play and they make you defend well because they put the ball in the channels and you have to defend your box from open play and set-pieces.

"I think the first game became open because Northampton are so aggressive at getting the ball forward but tonight they played with a front two whereas before they played with wingers in wide positions and Paul Lewis catching the game up.

"Every time the ball goes forward, you have five up against you and you have four or five in the box for every cross and you have to track those runs, which means you get deeper and the game is quite stretched.

"So it was important for us that, when we got the ball, we kept it and tried and make sure the ball went off the pitch at the end of our attacks because otherwise they run hard from one end to the other and can break on you quickly.

"The way they play can make it a hard game to control but I thought we did that well and we also had some good possession.

"We knew the challenge and we knew what was coming and I thought we looked a bit edgy to start with but we worked our way into the game and scored some good goals. It was an important win for us."