Paul Mullin feeling the love at Cambridge – Mark Bonner
Paul Mullin’s storming start to life with Cambridge is down to ‘feeling loved’ again, said Us boss Mark Bonner after the striker took his tally to 11 in a 2-0 win at previously unbeaten Walsall
Mullin tucked home an early penalty – his fourth spot-kick in as many games to add to seven goals from open play this term – before fellow striker Joe Ironside also netted from the spot late on.
The ex-Morecambe man has already scored more in two months than he managed in two seasons at previous club Tranmere and leads the country’s goalscoring charts.
Bonner said: “We knew we were signing somebody with the skill set to score goals but we also knew we had to play in a way that gave him the best opportunity of doing that.
“But, of course, you don’t expect him to go and score at the rate he has – he’s had a flying start and whether he can maintain that rate of goalscoring remains to be seen.
“He came here on loan at the end of last season and really liked it. We’ve created an environment and a group that he feels comfortable with.
“And he feels loved – he’s playing regularly, which he has doesn’t done for a while, and sometimes things just fall into place.”
The victory kept Cambridge second, two points behind leaders Newport, and it would have been more emphatic had Walsall keeper Liam Roberts not denied Luke Hannant and Mullin.
Bonner added: “It was such a pleasing result, I’m delighted with the defensive side of our game and parts of our attacking play – to beat a team who haven’t lost for so long, it’s a really big win.”
Walsall slipped to 14th after a Liam Kinsella foul and a Hayden White handball conceded poor penalties, ending a 13-game unbeaten league streak stretching back to last season.
Boss Darrell Clarke admitted: “We were poor. We had a lot of possession of the ball but we weren’t creating the problems that we normally create.
“My key players at the top end of the pitch didn’t make things happen as they normally can. They have had a bit of an off night.
“We tried loads of different things but you have to give Cambridge credit.
“We gave them the early goal, which was frustrating and we’ve got to stop doing that at home because it gives them something to hold on to.
“They looked to hit us on the counter-attack – and we struggled to break them down.
“We certainly didn’t do enough tonight and now it’s about the reaction.
“We’ve had a lot of draws this season, a couple of wins but there should be more wins on the board. We are probably five or six points worse off than we should be.”