Brian Barry-Murphy has praisesd the courage of the players, following their performance in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Shrewsbury Town at the Crown Oil Arena…
“It’s a great victory for the players and everybody associated with the Club,” said BBM in his post-match interview.
“The players put a lot of effort into this week, after what was a very difficult week for the lads. They expended a lot of emotion earlier in the week, so to round the week off with a win is great and I thought they deserved it. They showed a lot of courage and it’s a sense of euphoria when you win a game in those circumstances.
“The players have showed a great attitude all week. They’ve been wanting to crack our home form for a while, so getting the performance to do that justice was key to give them belief going forward. I thought there were elements of the performance that were very, very good and it will give us a lot of belief going forward.”
And Barry-Murphy admits he was most pleased with the way the team defended against the Shrews.
“I saw a great resolution from the players, and even when we were weren’t playing well, they tried hard to stop the ball from going in our net. Shrewsbury had quite a lot of corners in the first half, and the lads have been conscious for quite a while that we have given away goals from set-pieces, so I thought they showed great courage and skill in defending corners against a team who are very dangerous on set-plays.
“During the second half, generally, we seemed to grow as a team and you could sense that belief was coming back to the players and probably the supporters as well, on seeing that we could produce football that represents them. It was a good day all round."
Dale went in at half-time a goal to the advantage, with Kgosi Ntlhe having opened the scoring from a corner in the 15th minute.
“I thought the first half was an even game. Our goalkeeper played well but we also had key moments that were good for us and we scored a good goal. We caused them a couple of problems on the counter-attack and I think their player should have been sent off on one of them [for bringing down Ian Henderson].
“We still had good moments, but I think the lads were frustrated that we hadn’t been able to play fast flowing football, as such, in the first half, but I don’t think the conditions or the opposition were going to allow that. That was the challenge, but I thought in the second half there was real elements of what we’d work on and what we are as a football club really came to the fore.
“It’s true that it brings that feeling of confidence and you start to see that it feels right again, but to get the players to really believe in that, it takes a victory. If we had have drawn at the end, it would have been disappointing, so I’m happy for them that they got the win.”
There were hearts in mouths in the dying embers of the game, when Andy Lonergan pulled off a fantastic save right at the end and Kgosi Ntlhe smashed the ball off the underside of the bar as he attempted to clear it.
“We’re all human and in my mind at the moment, I was only worried about the players. They’ve been through those moments in the last 18 months where there have been late goals and it has been heart breaking.
“But I just reminded them that we actually came through that at the end of last season and they succeeded in the end. It was similar today and I think we deserved to win. I felt as though the players deserved that bit of luck at the end for the courage in the way that they performed.”
Jim McNulty joined Ntlhe on the score sheet, netting what proved to the winning goal just two minutes into the second half.
“We have been slow starters in the second half at home recently, and I was keen to get on the front foot and to really go for them. I think at half time it was really important to remind the lads that we were in front, because they were a little bit disappointed with the first half performance. But it’s not going to be perfect all of a sudden when we haven’t been flawless, but I thought we were very, very good in the second and put Shrewsbury on the back foot. A lot of the good, creative attacking play in the second half was from us. Shrewbury were dangerous, but I thought we had control.”
It was Ntlhe’s first appearance in two months after suffering a knee injury in mid-January, while Ethan Ebanks-Landell returned to the fold having missed last weekend’s game against Luton Town through suspension.
“It was a very difficult decision telling Ryan Delaney – one of my comrades and good friends – that he wasn’t going to be playing or in the squad. But Kgosi was fresh and he’d been doing really well. He played in the behind closed-doors game on Tuesday and he was exceptional, so I thought he was best suited to this game.
“I thought the back three were all outstanding today – Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Jimmy McNulty and Kgosi. I thought they led the team, along with the goalkeeper who has made excellent saves. That has been the norm during Andy’s time here. That has been slightly concerning because you don’t want him to have to be making those saves but at least we’ve provided him with a victory today that has been long overdue.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow FREEVIEW.