Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on Dale’s 2-1 win over Lincoln City…
“A very good performance. I thought we continued where we left off on Tuesday night [against Shrewsbury Town] despite the disappointing result in that game,” said the Boss.
“We created some very good chances against a very good team, and it was a high level performance from our lads. That fills us with confidence and hope as we move towards a very exciting end, hopefully, to the season.”
The Imps are chasing automatic promotion and currently sit third in the Sky Bet League table, just a point behind second placed Peterborough United.
And while BBM says the character shown by the players to secure victory over a team flying high towards the top end of the table was never in doubt for him, he’s pleased for the players and supporters that the side have been able to get the three points on board.
“It [the character shown] was not in doubt for me, but as I said on Tuesday night, the supporters are probably sick on me saying we’ve created chances and we should have won, and we should have done, but at some stage you want to get a result for the players and for the supporters, to say, ‘we can actually do this’.
“We feel as if we have a few players who are very important to us coming back towards full fitness, namely Jake Beesley, and there’s Matty Lund, whose probably different, but as we get them back, there’s confidence within the dressing room that we can achieve something special this season. But again, they are just words, now we have to go and show it.”
Ollie Rathbone returned from his three-game suspension and went straight into the starting eleven, scoring the opener.
“Ollie played really well and really supported Conor Grant and Conor Shaughnessy, who are new to our club, in midfield, and he showed real leadership qualities.
“But it was very much a team performance, and from front to back, defensively, the work was incredible.
“Likewise, we’ve been aware of how little we’ve scored over the last seven or eight games, so to create so many chances was a really significant sign for me in terms of the lads applying what they’ve been doing in training.”
Rochdale should arguably have had a penalty two minutes before Lincoln went up the other end and netted an equaliser, when Stephen Humphrys was upended inside the area. BBM is pleased with how the players responded to the spot-kick claim being turned down.
“It was a clear penalty. In previous weeks we have been severely handicapped by refereeing decisions. I understand that they’re not obviously intentionally denying us opportunities, but there has been a significant run of penalties that we haven’t been given.
“That can be very frustrating for the lads, but they managed that emotionally and showed no real signs of anger. I think the lads just responded to it with a real focus and it didn’t distract us which is important, because like I said, it’s easy to think, ‘oh no, here we go again’, but that didn’t happen today and that’s a mindset that we have to demonstrate over the last 11 games because there will be a lot of ups and downs. But our guys have been willing to and are capable of bouncing back from every eventuality this season and I do believe we are a very dangerous team as we enter into this period of the season.”
Despite the set-back of the Imps equalising very much against the run of play after Dale had the penalty claimed turned down, the players responded superbly well and Humphrys went on to net a winner in the 74th minute.
“We should have been ahead by significantly more than we were. They score from a breakaway, which was a good move from their point of view, but our lads bounce back from that straight away and the significant thing for me was our intention to attack straight away and put pressure on the Lincoln defence.
“Matty Done and Stephen Humphrys were really potent in the final third and I thought it was only a matter of time before we scored. This season we haven’t always done that, so to see that goal reward the lads’ effort was a huge lift for everybody.”
Watch BBM’s post-match interview in full on iFollow.