Cambridge boss Garry Monk was scathing of referee Will Finnie’s decision to award Wycombe a late penalty as the two sides recorded a 1-1 League One draw on Tuesday night.

Finnie penalised substitute Lyle Taylor seven minutes from time, allowing Luke Leahy to equalise and make Cambridge’s bid to avoid relegation go down to the final day.

A victory would have kept the U’s up and they led through Gassan Ahadme, despite illness and injury leading to Monk having only one fit centre-back available to him.

“It’s not in a million years a penalty,” Monk said afterwards.

“It’s got nothing to do with the players. It was taken out of our hands by a decision from an official that I think’s extremely poor. I’m not surprised that decision was given either, from the performance of the referee today.

“It is what it is, we’ve got to deal with it and the ramifications of it. We’re not in a place that we should have been and deserved to be tonight, where we were safe.

“In the second half, what more can you ask? We had some good chances tonight, we scored our goal. The bitter bit is not coming off with three points. We deserve to be in the situation where the job is done tonight.

“I’m really proud of them. They deserved to walk off this pitch tonight in front of our fans with the job done. We can feel deflated tonight but when we wake up tomorrow, we know what the job is.

“If we continue to show the amount of effort in what we’re doing then on Saturday we’ll get what we deserve, or what we did deserve tonight.”

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield was delighted to see his side make it 10 points from their last four away matches.

“We’ve played Shrewsbury, Port Vale – less so Carlisle because they were already relegated – and Cambridge. Teams that wanted points, needed points.

“The one thing I wanted to come away from every game is not being able to pick which team needed the points and which team didn’t.

“I wanted us to play with that intensity, that need to keep improving, the need to keep moving forward. It’s how we feel about ourselves. The boys are disappointed, they wanted to win tonight and I think they way we played showed that.

“You can’t win every game, we have to be very respectful of the way Cambridge played and performed but I think we did enough to win the game.

“First half we were excellent, it’s as dominant as we’ve been. The only slight disappointment was that we weren’t ahead. To show the character to go and get a penalty and come back, I thought we were very good.”

Derby boss Paul Warne hailed his side’s attacking mentality after the 1-0 victory at Cambridge secured a club-record 13th away win of the season.

The Rams could have secured promotion if both Bolton and Peterborough dropped points, but all three League One automatic-promotion chasers won to take the race for second down to the final day.

Cambridge gave as good as they got after half-time but were unable to force an equaliser, having seen Nathaniel Mendez-Laing break the deadlock in the 39th minute, but the U’s need two points from their last two games to secure their spot in League One.

Even that would only be necessary if Cheltenham win both of their remaining fixtures.

“I’ve tried to be consistent with the lads all the time, keep convincing them not to live in regret, try and play on the edge. We’ve never set up to draw,” said Warne.

“It’s not about setting out to get points, it’s about trying to win every game we can. We’re not always going to be at our best but we always create enough chances to give ourselves a chance.

“We had an opportunity today to take another step, got an opportunity today to be remembered for something for however many years it takes to beat it, and an opportunity to get us a step closer to where we want to be, to make everyone proud.

“The first thing the players do is they get on their phones, they just know they’ve got another week. I don’t think we’ve picked up any severe injuries, I had a good plethora of players to pick from today.

“We’ve got everyone fit for the last game of the season, which I’m not going to complain about.”

Mendez-Laing’s goal proved to be the winner to leave Derby three points clear of Bolton heading into the final match.

Cambridge came on strong after the break, with Jordan Cousins firing just wide from distance and Ryan Bennett seeing a shot blocked.

Cambridge boss Garry Monk felt his side matched their promotion-seeking opponents.

He said: “It’s just a real shame for us, a disappointment that the one moment with their goal was from our set-play and a counter-attack which we didn’t deal with well enough.

“We’re really disappointed with that, to concede that way. Really there was nothing else in the game.

“In the second half the territory was all ours and we were really pushing but if we’re honest we probably just lacked that bit of composure and quality in the final third.

“We’re competing hard. We’ve just taken second in the league really close and had them pinned back for the whole second half.

“There can’t be many teams that do that to Derby. We just needed that little bit more composure, to move their shape before we delivered certain passes.

“I can’t complain again with the players. You can see there’s a group of players fighting, trying to get the right results for the club. We just have to continue with that.”

Garry Monk was disappointed to not take anything from Cambridge’s trip to the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday evening but the U’s head coach was pleased with his side’s attitude.

Monk admitted luck was not on their side in the late 1-0 defeat, especially given that both sides had enjoyed good chances to score and a draw was very much on the cards.

Chris Martin netted the only goal of the game after 87 minutes – after missing a first-half penalty – but Cambridge’s Macauley Bonne and Paul Digby had squandered good opportunities from corners before that, while Mamadou Jobe had also headed against the post.

“So close and it would have been deserved (to get a point), I felt overall. Especially in that second half,” said Monk.

“There was a similar pattern that we need to address. First half, not that it was bad but just that there were a couple of things we weren’t getting to grips with, especially in our defensive actions but we still had a couple of glorious chances in that first half from our set plays. We should have had a goal.

“Second half, we looked so comfortable from a defensive point of view. Much more aggressive in the moments we needed to be and we sorted that out.

“I just couldn’t see them scoring. I was thinking more about, how can we do a little bit better with our attacks?

“But even then, we had the best chances in the second half. What we needed was for one of them to go in.

“But it wouldn’t quite go in for us. And the one real opportunity for them and it goes in – but that’s football sometimes.”

Bristol Rovers finally netted at home, as Martin’s late strike ended a run of four matches at the Memorial Stadium without a goal for the hosts.

The win also made it back-to-back League One victories following success at Cheltenham at the weekend, as the Gas aim to finish their campaign on a high.

“It’s been a while at the Mem, a very good goal to win and a clean sheet to boot,” said boss Matt Taylor. “I was really pleased with our first-half performance.

“I thought we deserved to be ahead in the game. Another missed penalty (after Antony Evans’ miss at the weekend) and enough opportunities to be in a more comfortable position than we were.

“As the second half went on, certainly how the opposition set up, it became more and more frustrating for us and we couldn’t quite get their centre-halves or goalkeeper to work. But you only need that one moment as long as you’ve got that clean sheet behind you.

“Thankfully it came in the shape of a late goal.”

Garry Monk praised his Cambridge side’s fighting spirit after they hit back to draw 1-1 with Charlton.

The U’s were outplayed in the first half, trailing to Connor Wickham’s goal at the break, but produced a rousing display after the interval to earn a draw.

Macauley Bonne’s goal against his former employer helped lift Cambridge to 18th in League One, six points clear of the relegation zone.

“I think the biggest compliment I can pay the players is four or five weeks ago, a goal like that in the first half, maybe mentally we would have suffered and not come back from it, but I think you can see the difference in mentality now,” Monk said afterwards. “The last four games, the mentality is there to fight.

“I think it was probably a fair result in the end, and it’s another point on our tally. Every point’s crucial.

“It was a great strike and I thought it was deserved. I thought we had a lot of pressure in their half, in and around their box.

“In the second half I thought we came out on top for the large period of that in terms of both boxes, winning those battles.

“I’m really pleased with the players, over these last four games especially. I just think the attitude and the level of performance has definitely risen.

“I think you could see the level of determination and attitude and desire to try and win and do the right things. We have to make sure we keep hold of that.”

Nathan Jones rued his Charlton side’s continued failure to finish games off as they missed opportunities before Cambridge hit back.

“I’m frustrated,” Jones said. “There are positives; we created enough chances to have won the game. It’s another point, it’s another game unbeaten. It’s away from home, the conditions are brutal and we haven’t been done.

“There’s a pleasing element to it but when I’m looking at how I want us to evolve, how I want us to move forward, we have to do better. We have to be more clinical in their box and score good chances when we got them. That’s happened on a number of occasions now.

“We’ve got to defend our box better because it’s a poor goal to give away, from every single aspect.

“We’ve got some decisions in the summer and we’ll have to make those decisions so that we’re nowhere near where we are now next year. I know where we want to go and what we want to achieve, but don’t take anything away.

“Since I’ve come in the players have been brilliant. They’ve driven each other, they’ve grafted and they’ve given me absolutely everything.”

Cambridge head coach Garry Monk was full of praise for his players after the 2-0 win at Barnsley which earned him his first win since taking charge.

An own goal from Mael de Gevigney gave struggling Cambridge the lead before Gassan Ahadme sealed a crucial three points.

Monk said: “We’ve had two weeks to work on stuff, for this particular game, and I was interested to see the level of fight that goes with it and I thought we got all of that.

“I was really pleased because the last two weeks we’ve worked extremely hard and when you’re in a moment of low confidence you need something like this, you need a performance like this.

“You need certain things in games to go for you and obviously you need a result, something to build on. In terms of the level of performance, it was much more in the realms of what we were looking for.

“Delighted for the players, obviously the travelling fans. Giving them a good trip home is obviously important, compared to the last couple. So overall, a pleasing day. But we need more. We’ve got a game on Monday, we’ve set the standard today and we need to back this up.”

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins felt his side’s performance did not match with a disappointing defeat for his play-off chasing side.

He said: “The first goal was a freak incident, I think that maybe happens one in a million.

“A misplaced back-pass – I won’t go into too much detail but ultimately it’s a freak. Normally it goes back to the goalkeeper and you play it up the field, you play it out, just today we got punished pretty brutally and it was the last thing we needed.

“Then we went on and we really should really have just put the ball in the net. We missed good chances and when you do that, then you end up with what we got. We got punished again.

“They took the second goal, made it really difficult, so I’m so bitterly disappointed with the result but I think there’s parts of our performances that need to be better.

“Would we have liked to create a little bit more? Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s where we can just do a little bit better individually and collectively – that last ball, that final delivery.

“That’s where we’ve got to be really careful because you can’t say we created any less today than we have in a lot of other victories this year.

“But in the victories we punished those chances, today we didn’t and we got pretty brutally punished at the other end.”

Garry Monk felt Cambridge showed signs of what they can be capable of in his first match as manager.

Cambridge looked on course to mark Monk’s first match with a victory but Northampton dominated territory in the second half and ensured the points were shared courtesy of Jon Guthrie’s late goal.

The Us moved a point further away from the relegation zone with the 1-1 draw, ending a run of four straight losses and sitting five points above the drop zone with 10 games remaining.

“The positive of it is that we’ve stopped that run of results,” said Monk, whose side had led through Elias Kachunga.

“As much as the aim is the three points, every point will count. So I’m pleased on that side of it from the players.

“Quite understandably in that second half, where you haven’t won for a while and you haven’t got points, that kind of protective mentality comes in where you’ve got the points and it feels close, and then you’re maybe a bit too protective and stop doing what we were doing with the ball and being that threat.

“It allowed Northampton to come much more into the game in that second half. That’s stuff to work on, for sure. I probably expected a little bit of that, but I can’t complain. The players were great.

“I’ve always said that if you can’t win a game then make sure you don’t lose it. They did everything to make sure they didn’t lose that game. We can be better but that first half’s a really good indication of what they can be capable of.”

Jon Brady spoke highly of his Northampton side as they collected a point following a 5-1 loss to Peterborough on Tuesday.

“It has to be a good point,” he said. “It’s a bit of a milestone to get to 50.

“Our remit was to maintain our League One status, then we can breathe a sigh of relief. To do what we’ve done so far, without patting ourselves on the back yet, is a fantastic achievement.

“We’ve had nine out in the last three weeks, one’s a goalkeeper and six are defenders so we’re shuffling the pack all over the place with no consistency.

“There’s some constraints to us and we’re still putting in that performance. I’m really proud of the character of the team.”

Speaking of his message at half-time, Brady spoke of the need for “a lot more purpose, move the ball quicker, a few tactical elements to get round the sides a bit quicker”.

He added: “I thought we did, and we dominated possession and they were hardly in our half.

“Tuesday night was so tough to take, to bounce back like this today even after going 1-0 down shows you huge character.”

Garry Monk’s first game as Cambridge head coach ended in a 1-1 draw with Northampton.

Monk was appointed on Monday after over three years without a management role, and Jon Guthrie’s late header denied him a debut victory.

His Us side went ahead with their first meaningful attack on 16 minutes, Elias Kachunga firing in after neat interplay between Liam Bennett and Jack Lankester.

Northampton almost scored direct from a corner before keeper Jack Stevens punched Marc Leonard’s delivery away on the line, while Kachunga could have added a second when volleying Lyle Taylor’s cross wide with the last action of the first half.

The Cobblers pressed hard for an equaliser after the break, with Liam Moore’s header deflected off target and Ben Fox shooting wide from the edge of the box just before the hour.

Visiting boss Jon Brady was booked by referee Declan Bourne, seconds before his side drew level eight minutes from the end when captain Guthrie beat Stevens to the ball and headed home Leonard’s free-kick.

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