Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on Dale’s 2-2 draw with Gillingham…
His side, having come from behind at the Priestfield Stadium, were forced to settle for a point, after the Gills scored a stoppage time equaliser to ensure a share of the spoils.
“I feel like crying at the end, only for the players and their efforts. I knew they’d be heartbroken,” said BBM.
“For me, the overall picture was a performance that was one of our very best in terms of what we produced based on who we had available.”
The depleted Rochdale side, who were missing multiple key players for the game including Jake Beesley, Stephen Humphrys and Eoghan O’Connell, were the better of the two sides of the first half but went into the break a goal down after the hosts netted against the run of play two minutes before the break.
“[At half-time], I’m looking for real evidence of belief in the way that we had played and what we had done in the first half and our interpretation of our game plan. Keeping possession, penetrating Gillingham and creating real chances by breaking forward quickly was very productive for us and I just wanted to see how that would materialise in the second half having had the blow of going behind to one of Gillingham’s rare attacks."
Jimmy Keohane netted twice inside six second-half minutes to the turn the game on its head and put Dale in front.
“It was Jimmy Keohane’s 30th birthday was yesterday so it was a a great present for him. The ends of those moves will be shown and seen a lot but the phase of play right from the very start of those and how they evolved, with the guys building from the back and breaking through at speed, was breathtaking.
“The goals were testament to the lads’ willingness to play that type football when we were behind, because it would have been easy for us to go into our shell. But the courage of the players and the skill and the intensity that we played at was amazing, and, bearing in mind how stretched the squad was and how much adversity we faced for this weekend, it was something that was brilliant to be part of.”
Heading into the game against Gillingham, Rochdale suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers during the week, despite a performance that deserved more, and BBM says he was keen for the side to build on that performance on Saturday.
“I wanted a performance today that was building on Tuesday night at Doncaster, by continuing to show the improvements that the lads have been doing.
“We were very good against Doncaster but I felt as if we could have been even better by creating chances, and we did that today. We want to improve how we defend, set-plays especially, which we haven’t been doing recently, so that’s a real area of improvement for us to focus on.
“The lads want to do that, and, for me, it’s not about what happened late in the game or in the last moments, it’s how we continue to strive to improve every aspect of our game. The lads are fully in tune with that.”
Watch BBM’s interview in full on iFollow Dale.