Manager Graham Westley was full of praise for the professionalism of Clinton Morrison after his role in ensuring Jeffrey Monakana was not sent off.
The Republic of Ireland international spoke to referee Phil Gibbs after the 18-year-old winger went into a 50/50 with U’s goalkeeper Mark Cousins, leaving the visitors No.1 prone, and he explained that the league debutant did not mean to hurt the keeper and eventually the North End No.17 picked up a yellow and not a red card.
“The referee was first class in the way he handled it,” the manager told the press after the game. “We were fortunate that Clinton Morrison showed great professionalism as well. He went and spoke to the referee and said that there was no malice from Jeffrey and that probably helped Jeffrey to stay on the pitch.
“Credit to the referee. He took his time, he listed to what Clinton said and I have great respect for Clinton for making that contribution.”
Back on the game, the gaffer was disappointed that his side did not come away with three points having dominated the chances and could, and perhaps should, have had one if not two penalties as well.
“Their keeper was tested half a dozen times or more and made some magnificent saves, whereas Stucky at the other end only had one save to make right near the end,” he continued. “ In terms of chances we are going to see a lot of sides come here and be organised defensively and make life difficult, but from our point of view we are emerging and learning as a team.
“The players are getting to know each other – we have all seen them play some very good football over the past two or three weeks. I am probably a little bit disappointed with the quality of play on the whole today, but at the time when we started to have the game going in our favour in the second half we lost both Mous and Jack King through injury and I think those disruptions stopped us from sustaining the tempo in our game. After that is took Welshy and Proccy a while to get used to playing in a three with Nicky and that disruption probably let them off the hook a bit.
“That said, we should be sitting here with a penalty victory because Beardo was pulled down, so it was disappointing we didn’t get that.
“The boys came together six weeks ago and so far they have ground out two clean sheets, which is positive. Their work ethic and commitment to the football club is undoubted. I think they played some very good football in patches.
“Today was a day where we weren’t at our best, but after the feedback they got on Monday I was concerned they would be overconfident and a little bit of complacency creeping in, but in fact I thought they showed good professionalism to go and play the game the right way. I didn’t think the football in the first half was good enough, but I understood it, it was for the right reasons. I am happy to show them understanding today.
“If someone had said we would come together in six weeks and come away with two clean sheets – a win and a draw – I think anyone can see that when we have everyone fit and the team gets to know each other then there won’t be many people come here and get anything.
“If there was a disappointment in the afternoon, it was that we didn’t look as potent as we did on Monday night, but we know we can be and we will be. The chances came and we could easily have won the game.”
The loss of King and Mousinho was obviously a blow, but the manager is hopeful that at least one of them will be back fit for Tuesday night: “Jack has concussion and will hopefully be back for Tuesday; Mous’ problem was muscular and he might struggle.”