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Paul Cook points to ‘Achilles heel’ as Ipswich surrender lead at Cambridge

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 2021-10-16
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Paul Cook rued his Ipswich side’s inability to hold onto leads after they slipped to a 2-2 draw at Cambridge

Sone Aluko had scored twice to put Cook’s side in control but James Brophy made it 2-1 and, after a much improved second-half performance from the U’s, Joe Ironside headed his sixth goal of the season two minutes from the end to earn Cambridge a point.

It came in front of a capacity Abbey Stadium crowd of 7,944, the largest home attendance for a Cambridge league game since May 1999.

Both head coaches reflected on Brophy’s goal just before half-time as the key point of the contest.

“Since I’ve been managing Ipswich I’ve learned that you’re never comfortable in a game,” Cook said. “No matter what we’re doing, we’re not comfortable. At 2-1 we’re not clear in any game.

“For 43 minutes I genuinely enjoyed us today, I thought we were excellent. We thoroughly deserved the lead. A goal before half-time changes the whole mood in the stadium, whether you like it or not. It’s a soft, soft goal from our point of view.

“Cambridge were excellently honest all game, kept knocking on the door, and you know when those corners come in late on there’s always that chance and unfortunately we succumbed to it, which is so disappointing.

“It was a great day today, a good derby match, great atmosphere, and I enjoyed watching us. Unfortunately we’ve just got that Achilles heel in us that’s there for everyone to see. Goals for is not a problem, goals against is a big concern.”

Cambridge boss Mark Bonner felt his side dramatically improved after the break and earned their point.

“I thought we were excellent in the second half and a had a really good threat,” Bonner said. “The turning point of the game for us is the goal before half-time, it just gives us a real confidence and a belief that it can happen in the second half.

“We found the first 35 minutes of that game really, really difficult. It may maybe a little bit edgy and nervous with the atmosphere, and we didn’t really commit to a game where we made the pitch big to play, but the goal comes off a move where we hit the front part of the team. We did that really well and that’s a real turning point for us.

“Our first 30-minute form has to improve. We’re making the games too hard for ourselves, but our record at coming from behind and scoring late goals is outstanding, which is a great quality to have.

“Lots to improve, lots to do, but in a packed stadium on a great day, to take a point is massive for us.”

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