Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on Dale’s defeat to AFC Wimbledon at the Crown Oil Arena…
“It’s very difficult when you concede in the last minute. We’ve experienced that over the last couple years and it’s not something that you like to get used to, so for myself it’s important that I remind the players of how well they’ve done overall this season and not to get too down hearted with such a quick turnaround to Tuesday’s game [against Northampton Town],” said BBM.
“I thought we had good control for long-spells. We probably didn’t create as many chances as we probably would have liked. There are two major elements to that - how well we played and how well the opposition played. Wimbledon have done what they have done to us on a number of occasions this season, which is credit to them.
“We had some key chances during the game which become paramount when you play a team like this and we didn’t manage to take them. As such, we would have liked to have remained water tight right until the end, but we didn’t manage to keep them out and obviously the goal comes right at the end and we’ve no chance to respond.
“We displayed our identity over long periods of the game and the lads were fully committed to the processes of the way we want to play. There has been a very few minimal games this season where we feel as if we haven’t performed, and today, along with a large of majority of the season, the lads have applied our way of playing to a tee. As such, it’s important that I take the emotion out of the result and make clear to them what we can do better, and creating more clear cut chances in the final third is one of those things.”
Stephen Humphrys made his long-anticipated return from injury after coming on as a second half substitute to make his first appearance for the side since September.
“He has worked really hard to get back on the pitch. His fitness will be quite a bit behind the other players in terms of his overall condition, but we were keen to be on the front foot and to be as aggressive as possible when the game was 0-0 and it felt like a real positive substitution. In technical terms, I thought we were maybe in a bit of rush to get the ball to him very quickly and we probably lost a bit of our patience when he came on, but that’s very much a team thing and not his fault. But getting Stephen on the pitch can only be a positive as we look to involve him more in the weeks coming up.”