Cambridge caretaker boss Mark Bonner felt his side were deserving of more from Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy exit against the Cobblers, labelling their penalty shoot-out defeat as a ‘sickener’.
United looked good value to reach round three for much of the contest, ahead as early as the ninth minute through George Maris’ fizzing effort, but Town struck late to force penalties.
He (van Veen) had already hurt us a couple of times this season and they’ve got a really strong squad and a strong bench which caused us a few problems.
Kevin van Veen turned in Daniel Powell’s cross in the final minute of normal time, and he also converted his spot-kick before Cobblers ‘keeper Lewis Ward denied both Ade Azeez and Jevani Brown, allowing the visitors to take the shoot-out 4-2.
“We’ve drawn a game and then gone out on penalties, which is a sickener to take especially as I think we were deserving of going through,” said Bonner, who was taking charge of his first game having been placed in temporary charge at the weekend.
“I thought we played well. We carried a threat with the ball and we had real good defensive organisation and discipline.
“I thought we saw off the worst of it when we scrambled and threw bodies on the line and somehow the ball didn’t go in. That typified the intensity and the desire that the boys played with.
“In terms of that, we’re really pleased with the performance. It’s a disappointed dressing room because there’s no reward for us but I’ve said to them that the reward will have to come in the next few games by building on some of the principles we embedded on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed but let’s be encouraged by our performance and move on to the weekend.”
Van Veen has now scored a third of his nine goals this season against Cambridge, also netting twice when they visited the PTS back in August’s league fixture.
“He’s always a threat,” added Bonner. “He had already hurt us a couple of times this season and they’ve got a really strong squad and a strong bench which caused us a few problems.
“You have to accept that, at some point in the game, we were going to defend but we found some real resilience and we moved the game back into their half and for the majority of the night we defended our box brilliantly.”