Charlton AthleticSport

Cambridge boss Neil Harris’ Millwall connections made fightback at Charlton Athletic all the sweeter

Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris felt his side could have been walking off with a healthy half-time lead in today’s 2-2 draw at Charlton Athletic.

The U’s left SE7 with a share of the spoils but needed two late goals from Gassan Ahadme.

Former Millwall boss Harris watched his team overturn a 2-0 deficit with Alfie May and Chem Campbell scoring earlier in the second half.

It was a repeat of his first match in charge of Cardiff City – also at The Valley – where they came back from being 2-0 down to draw 2-2.

“In the first half we were outstanding and if we’d come in 3-0 up then people would have said: ‘Cor, Charlton got away with that’. It could’ve been four or five because we were that good,” said Harris.

“It was controlled. Their first shot in total was the 44th minute – that’s how good we were without the ball as well.

“Half-time we spoke about their threats and their reaction because any team at home is going to have a 10 or 15-minute spell. Theirs was at the start of the second half and we didn’t ride it very well.

Picture: Paul Edwards

“The response to come back from a two-goal deficit was terrific. No-one switched off, downed tools or gave up. I can’t praise the players highly enough.”

Harris’ connection to the Lions meant that he was the focus of some chants from the Charlton support.

He said:”I played and managed for 17 years – the big club up the road. I’ve always enjoyed a friendly banter with Charlton fans – and it is. They have been good to me over the years, especially with my illness. They were really good and the club were excellent.

“Of course to come from behind like we did, as I did four years ago in my first game as Cardiff manager here after being 2-0 down, is quite fitting for me. The first 72 hours have been a whirlwind. Of course it makes it sweeter because it is Charlton, a big football club with a huge following.

“I was massively frustrated not to be ahead at the break. I was really pleased with the performance but we created enough chances to win two games of football in the first half.

“Their two goals came from transitions or nicking the ball off us. We’ve not filled gaps when we should do. You can’t give Alfie May free contacts in the penalty area. That is the different with levels of players – Alfie May just needs one contact to put the ball in the net.

“I want Gass to score more. That’s the demand on him.

“I think the fans were requesting the fist bump from me at the end. That only comes after winning! We look forward to that at some stage.”

PICTURE: PAUL EDWARDS

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