Dunne Takes Positives From Crawley
The U's slumped to a seventh successive defeat yesterday as goals from Mark Connolly, Billy Clarke and Nicky Adams saw play-off chasing Crawley consign Joe Dunne's men to a 3-0 defeat.
Despite the score presenting a gloomy outlook, the U's boss has drawn positives from the game.
'3-0 is a bad defeat, but I didn't think it was a 3-0 game,' the Irishman stated after the final whistle. 'There were a lot of positives to take; we've had to change two of the back four just two hours before kick-off due to illness which unsettles us a bit, but after those opening ten minutes we controlled the rest of the first half and did really well.
'In the second half we also controlled it up until the second goal, the two full-backs were both getting forward and flashing balls across the box but it just didn't seem to break for us. We need to keep going though as it will eventually.'
Moreover, the performance of rising star Drey Wright was yet again the main positive of the day, with the 17-year-old left winger showing maturity years beyond his age as he looks to help the U's claw their way away from danger.
'Drey was, again, outstanding this afternoon,' commented Dunne on the winger's performance. 'But again, we're talking here about a young, 17-year-old boy playing in a struggling side and he has again been one of our better players.
'We need the others to step up to the plate, too.'
Despite the positives, a 3-0 defeat and a seventh in succession will raise many questions and doubts around the Weston Homes Community Stadium ahead of yet another tough trip to Doncaster on Saturday afternoon. Dunne himself acknowledges the many faults present in the U's game.
'We've started the year how we ended 2012, and that's not what we wanted to do.
'I could take a tape recorder into the changing room, press play and not bother being there as we're just saying the same things over and over again.
'We've been working on it all week, we've been talking about their strengths all week and yet today you've just seen sloppy goals again.
'They're not having to work hard for their goals which has summed up the season so far.'
Mark Connolly opened the scoring for the hosts with just five minutes on the clock, and this is something that remains prevalent in the U's performances.
'We talk about starting the game well, yet we're one down within five minutes again,' said Dunne, clearly frustrated with his team's under-performance. 'Again, it's avoidable as we have somebody marking the guy. We looked at the set-plays the day before, we showed them where they need to be and, unfortunately, we've chosen not to mark them.
'Players just don't seem to be starting games well enough and we to be better with that. Mark [Cousins] has made a good save in the build-up to the goal, but it's the second or third phase where nobody seems to follow the ball in that we need to work on.'
Former U's loanee, Billy Clarke, doubled the Reds' advantage with twenty minutes to go as the U's were pressing for an equaliser. Controlling a poor clearance from Cousins, the striker finished off the game by burying the ball into the top corner, but the state of the pitch wasn't to blame for the goal according to Dunne.
'I don't think it was the pitch that led to the goal,' he stated. 'Just kick it into the stands. That's basic football, isn't it, to just clear your lines? Mark chose a different decision and he got punished for it, but that's just the way it goes when you're down where we are.'
Although another defeat for the U's presents a bleak outlook for the coming weeks, Dunne insists that his charges can halt the slide and turn things around.
'We didn't get enough bodies into the box to get onto the end of balls, so we need to look at that as we are getting into good attacking positions, we're just not finishing them off - it just sums us up at the moment.
'The plan is to bring in more help and experience for the side, but that costs a lot of money which is the current stumbling block.
'But we are looking to get a couple in so we'll have to see what we can do.'
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