Manager Keith Hill was critical of Dale’s first half performance against Shrewsbury Town but was pleased with his side’s second half display.
Speaking after the game, he commented: “I thought we were shocking in the first half. I thought it was one of the worst halves of football I’d seen. From a team’s point of view, I thought we played straight into the hands of the opponents.
“There was no wisdom, there was no rhyme nor reason, no connection and no continuity, and it looked like a group of players who had no recognition of each other. The only positive from a first half to forget was coming into half-time at 1-1.
“Players are responsible for making in-play decisions and they can’t keep not accepting that responsibility. All they’ve got to do is compete, but we didn’t in the first half. We competed in the second half - we won tackles, tracked runners, won headers and run through lines, something we didn’t do in the first half which was unacceptable.
“If you turn up with a passion and a desire to run then you can play for Keith Hill’s football side. Whether it’s Rochdale, non-league or Turton Tigers on a Sunday, you have to be able to run and you have to have the desire to run, tackle and head. We didn’t have that in the first half and we were lucky to be 1-1 at half-time against an excellent well-run side. The opponents do run and they are committed, which is why they are up there at the top of the league.
“We competed in the second half, and that’s the major difference. We got in the opponent’s face, we had genuine runners in behind the defenders, and we were honest in our performance. I’m pleased with the result and I’m pleased with the second half performance, but make no bones about it, we crumbled after we went a goal down.”
There was drama late in stoppage time when Shrewsbury were awarded a penalty, only for it to be overturned. And Hill believes that was the right decision.
“I’ve got no idea why the referee gave the penalty in the first place. Joe Rafferty is competing and he heads the ball.
“I’ve gone through it, and regardless of the emotions, it’s not worthy of a penalty decision, but once he gives it, you just think the worse. But they’ve come to the right conclusion.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.