Manager Robbie Stockdale reflects on Dale’s stoppage time defeat to Port Vale in the Papa John’s Trophy…
“I feel like I’m telling you the same thing after the game again,” said the Gaffer in his post-match interview.
“Firstly, with so many changes and lots of players playing 90 minutes for the first time in a while, I thought attitude was superb.
“It was horrendous conditions, especially in the first half when we were against the wind or the monsoon or whatever it is you want to call it. It made it really difficult just to get out of our own half at times as the ball was holding up, so to come in at half-time at 0-0, we felt that we’d done a good job.
“I thought we played better in the second half. The conditions calmed down completely and we created some good opportunities, and then it’s both frustrating and disappointing that we concede so late on because I don’t think we really deserved that tonight.
“It was drifting to penalties - like I say, we had several good chances, but on the whole I’m pleased with the game in terms of getting people minutes that needed them.”
The first half was played out in difficult conditions as the heavy rain lashed Vale Park and strong winds swirled around the stadium.
“It [the weather] was horrendous - it was really, really bad. We were penned in at times, no doubt about that, but there was an attitude to block and tackle and close down.
“Listen, I know people will watch it and think we weren’t good on the ball, but unless you were here, I don’t think you really understand what we were playing in. The ball was holding up - we tired to play the same way but when we tired to kick it a little bit longer, you just couldn’t get it anywhere, so attitude wise it was really good.
“I thought we played much better with the ball in the second half and created some good scoring opportunities.”
Tuesday night’s result means Dale now need to beat Bolton Wanderers in the final group stage tie, due to be played next month, to progress.
“Of course, we want to progress, we want to win games. I said before the game that there’s no hiding the fact that I want to get back into a winning habit and we haven’t, and that maybe sums up just where we’re at the minute.
“The 93rd minute goal - everyone is going to say this, that and the other, but we know we’re a good team and we just need to keep believing in what we’re doing and it’ll turn, I’ve no doubt about that.
“I think it’s clear from the last few games that we need to be better at certain aspects but we are creating chances, so, as a manager, I’d be more worried if that wasn’t the case, but I completely accept that we need to start taking them. Scoring goals is part of the game and part of the job, and we need to make sure we do that.”
Watch the Gaffer’s post-match interview in full on iFollow Dale.