Youth Team Captain James Neild felt he and his teammates did themselves justice against Queens Park Rangers on Monday night.
Dale came moments away from a place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, conceding a 92nd minute equaliser, before retaking the lead in extra time, only for the hosts to turn the game on its head.
“I’m very proud,” said Neild.
“The performance was excellent. The mood is good to say we’ve lost. We’re a bit down that we’re out of the competition, but we’ve performed and done ourselves proud. The final moments just didn’t go our way, but it’s a game of football and anything can happen.
“We definitely did ourselves justice. Everyone gave is 100% and we left everything on the pitch.
“In a few days we’ll look back and say we should have won, conceding that last minute goal, but it happens. We all performed to the best that we can and gave it 100% against a very good side.
“They’re a good team and have a lot of good individuals. They’re very well structured and all know what they’re doing.
“We played so well, got the early goal, defended well and managed the game so well. It was a good performance against a good team, and in a few days time we’ll look back and think that we gave it our best shot.”
Dale were seconds away from a 1-0 win before a 92nd minute equaliser took the game to extra time.
Despite the blow, they recovered, began the extra period strongly and retook the lead.
“There’s been times where we concede and our heads drop, and we’ve spoke after and asked ourselves why our heads have dropped.
“When we conceded tonight I took responsibility and kept trying to keep everyone going. Everyone was tired and cramping up, so I just wanted to keep everyone going. We did that, retook the lead, but they managed to turn it around.
“We said to leave everything on the pitch. If it’s hurting, let it hurt, play through it and keep going. We were very confident we’d beat them [in extra time]. They got that last minute goal and we were playing very well.
“At full-time we went into the huddle and we said to keep the ball, get it down and play, which they probably weren’t expecting us to do because we’re category three and they’re a bigger team.”
And Neild scored Dale’s goal in extra time from a set-piece straight from the training ground.
“We’ve been working on them for the past few days. We had a lot of corners but the delivery just wasn’t there. The one good delivery I managed to move, get onto it and took it quite well. It was a great moment to score at Loftus Road.”
Dale are still in two more cup competitions, as well as sitting in a promising position in the league, and Neild wants to take the positives from tonight into the remainder of the season.
“We’re still in a lot of cups. We’ve still got the league to do our best in. We’ve just got to take tonight as a positive, take it into our future games. If we play like we did tonight we’ll beat any team in our league, so we’ll definitely take tonight into future games.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow HERE.