Manager Robbie Stockdale reflects on Dale’s dramatic stoppage time win over Sutton United at the Crown Oil Arena…
“I’ve just said to the players that I don’t know if I’m ecstatic, frustrated or angry - it’s a whole mix of emotions, but obviously I’m so pleased to come out of the other end with three points. It was fully deserved I think,” said the Gaffer.
“We dominated the game for large periods. I know the extra man can help [Sutton were reduced to ten men just before half-time], but at the same time it can make it difficult to break down the opposition and we have to be patient. We did that, and, albeit it for a mad few minutes with two set-plays, we win comfortably. But credit to the players - to have that knock and then to go and win it, it’s a fantastic feeling.”
He continued: “I thought we were good throughout the game. People will say that we dominated the game against ten men, which we did, but it is difficult to break that down and you have to be clever and be patient. Could we have passed it a little bit quicker at times? Yes. Could we have used the width a little bit more? Yeah. But we were still finding good opportunities.
“Honestly, I’m still quite lost for words because it’s quite quick after the event but for the players to then show character and to go on and win it is a massive positive for me.”
Alex Newby opened the scoring in brilliant fashion. Liam Kelly arrowed a diagonal ball over the defence into the path of Newby, who lifted the ball over the Bouzanis and into the back of the net. Provider Kelly then turned goal scorer as he struck from Corey O’Keeffe’s knock down, while Aaron Morley won it for Dale right at the death.
“The first goal - I’ve worked in the Premier League and it wouldn’t look out of place there. The ball, the run and the finish were really, really good. We want to try and play in behind teams and that’s a perfect example.
“The second goal with Liam, you see his quality on the ball and it’s another fantastic finish.
“And [then the third one]. I spoke to Aaron after training yesterday - he scored a couple of goals like that in training yesterday and with his ability he should be hitting double figures for us. If he can add that to his game he’ll soar and go on.
“When I came here, in my first interview I said I wanted to entertain the fans and today was all part of the plan”, joked Stockdale. They’ve [supporters] gone home happy so, that’s good news.”
Sutton United netted twice in the last eight minutes from corner to draw level after Dale had comfortably opened a two goal advantage.
“Two set-plays, that’s how they’ve managed to do it [get back into the game].
“The first one creates a little bit of anxiety around the ground and within the players. We highlighted to the players where Sutton’s strengths were and throughout the game in the main we handled those set plays really well. It’s not very often you see goalkeepers taking free-kicks in opposition halves and just loading the ball in but that’s their way which is absolutely fine and we dealt with them really well. We just didn’t do that in the last 10 minutes.
“But I would rather focus on the positive aspects of our game today. We had some really, really good performances and we won a game, so we’ll take that.”
And the Gaffer confirmed that Jeriel Dorsett missed the game due to illness.
Watch the interview in full on the club’s YouTube channel.