Heartache For U's At Donny
The U's suffered heartache once more on Saturday as they fell to an eighth successive defeat at the hands of a late David Cotterill.
In what was a solid performance throughout, the U's were rarely troubled and can feel hard done by for losing a club record-equalling consecutive defeat.
Personally, I felt that the U's were assured, kept things tight at the back and would have fully justified picking up a highly creditable point away from home at a side who are chasing promotion.
Perhaps all three points would have been pushing it a little due to a lack of attacking threat, and U's boss Joe Dunne agrees that his side can rightly feel aggrieved to have yet again had a trip back to Essex without anything to show for it.
'I thought we were magnificent today,' he stated to BBC Essex after the game. 'We were the better team, we controlled the ball, we got into good positions and we tested their back four. I thought we were very good and that we didn't deserve to lose the game; any football person would tell you that.'
Dunne handed a debut to new loanee Dominic Samuel on his own up front, with Josh Thompson and Michael Rose returning to the side in place of Matt Heath and Dan Potts, respectively.
Thompson thought he had given the U's the lead moments before the break when he headed home from a corner, but the referee adjudged there to have been a foul by Anthony Wordsworth on Jamie McCombe behind Thompson.
The U's boss disagrees, however, saying: 'Firstly, I thought the referee was excellent. However, I feel it was a goal; we've watched it back and we've had a perfectly good goal chalked off.
'The referee blew straight away and he aid there was a push as McCombe was never going to get to Josh and it's a perfectly good goal, but that's what happens when you're down the bottom.
'We've worked hard on our set-pieces and then when one pays off, we get a very innocuous foul given against us.
'It's a major decision and it's affected the result.'
With the clock ticking down into the final ten minutes of the game, the U's were looking assured and set to pick up a very useful point considering the psychological effects it may have borne.
However, with six minutes to go David Cotterill skipped past Brian Wilson's challenge down the U's right hand side and, upon entering the box, curled an exquisite finish over Cousins and into the top corner of the visiting goal.
It was heartbreaking for the U's, but the top-class nature of the goal doesn't make it any easier to accept.
'It was an excellent goal and you can't take anything away from the finish as it was class, but a class finish doesn't make it any easier to stomach,' reflected Dunne.
'I think it was their first meaningful chance of the half really and it's cost us, we've lost possession and then not defended it very well, but it was a class finish.
'It's one of the first times when it's a class finish that has undone us really, so for once I can't say it's just the same basic, stupid mistakes because it wasn't and we deserved a lot more today.'
The U's now head into a run of fixtures against sides also in and around the bottom of the table, with Scunthorpe, Hartlepool, Walsall and Portsmouth to follow.
It will be a crucial period of the season in the fight against the drop, but if the side continue to display the same fortitude and resilience with some added threat up front then there is every reason to hope that the table will be looking rosier in a few weeks' time.
'We've lost again but there's plenty of positives today and the players should be very proud of themselves,' Dunne affirmed. 'I think it is a great performance to now take into the next few weeks aganst the teams in and around us.
'The defence were excellent, we defended from the front and the energy levels on the wings were magnificent.
'We executed the game plan tactically spot on, it's just one of those games where you scratch your head. We could have contributed a goal, but every player did what was expected of them and so we just have to keep believing and keep going; one will go for us.
'Doncaster may not have deserved all three points but they won't care less. They've won the game and that's what it's all about, whereas we keep losing.
'But the players deserve a lot more and, unfortunately, I'm still standing here talking about a defeat which is hard to take.'
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