Evatt | Incredible Character And Resilience

Evatt smile Cambridge

Ian Evatt praised the character of his side and the backing of the travelling fans as Wanderers came from behind to secure a vital win at the Abbey Stadium, writes Pete Oliver.

Second-half goals from Paris Maghoma and a magnificent strike from Carlos Mendes Gomes saw the Whites clinch a 2-1 victory which takes them level on points with second-placed Derby County in the League One promotion race.

And Evatt was delighted to see his players pass the latest test of their credentials as they made the most of the first of their games in hand on the sides currently occupying the automatic promotion slots.

“These boys; the resilience, the character they show on a daily basis I'm incredibly proud of them,” said the Wanderers’ boss. “Being at the top of divisions is extremely challenging and high pressure, especially with the expectations we are carrying, and they keep finding a way and the right solutions.

“The players showed incredible character, resilience and bravery in the second half. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb again, giving away a poor soft goal with a heavy deflection and that can sometimes go against you.

“For large periods of the first half we had a lot of the ball but just in the final third we lacked a little bit of quality with our final pass, our final decision. But in the second half we increased the tempo again.

Geth Jones applause Cambridge

“We deserved to get in front and after that we had to dig in and fight and see it out. These players show unbelievable amounts of bravery and resilience on a daily basis and I'm extremely proud of them tonight.”

After conceding possession and allowing Sullay Kaika to give the U’s a lead with an effort that bounced in off Eoin Toal, Wanderers struck twice in 12 minutes early in the second half to claim a deserved ninth success of the season.

Maghoma’s equaliser may also have come off a defender last before in making its way in as Wanderers forced a succession of early second-half corners.

But the strike from Mendes Gomes – volleyed in as Josh Sheehan’s perfect pass dropped over the Cambridge defence – was worthy of winning any game to spark joyous scenes among the 900-plus travelling fans who made the journey for the second time in a fortnight following a wash-out two weeks ago.

“We had some pressure from corners and again (it shows) the value and importance of set-play goals,” added Evatt. “And then we've just shown a real moment of quality with the pass and the run from Carlos. I'm delighted for him. He’s had a stop-start time with us, with injury and then going away to AFCON.

“But we told him he's going to be a big part of what we do and a big player for us and he showed that moment of quality to win us the game. He’s waited patiently and worked hard and waited for that moment and today he took that moment.

“That's the same for them all. It's very much a team game. The lads who haven't got on tonight, they've got to be prepared and ready for that moment.

“And the fans, for travelling down again. A huge ‘thank-you’ to them. It makes such a difference for us. In the second half they were our 12th man again and every credit for every fan that made the journey tonight. We needed them.”

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