Manager Robbie Stockdale reflects on Dale’s 3-2 win over Port Vale at Vale Park…
“I’m really pleased with them [the three points],” said the Gaffer.
“I thought we started slow and I thought we gave them encouragement in the game, too many touches in the middle of the pitch, and we were on the back foot, not doubt about it.
“We withstood a lot of pressure in that first 15/20 minutes and we were probably fortune to only be one down but then we got a hold of the game and our shape hurt them a little bit. It’s always going to be a difficult game and it can go either way but I felt our quality was there today.
“We scored three fantastic goals, really, really good, and if you can do that on a regular basis, it gives you a great chance to win.”
He continued: “Credit to Port Vale. You’ve got no devine right to start better than an opposition. They started better than us and that was clear, and we probably just had to settle everybody down a little bit. Panicked is maybe the wrong word but when you’re on the back foot like that, it seems everything is happening at 100mph and instead of shouting at each other, it’s just a quiet word to settle down and to play to our shape and to play how we know we can. I felt we did that and probably finished the first half stronger and we took it into the second half.”
The Valiants went ahead early on after a bright start but Dale responded superbly well and Jake Beesley equalised on 24 minutes. Dale then went ahead eight minutes into the second half as the forward netted his second of the afternoon.
“He’s such a willing runner in terms of trying to set our press off and running channels and everything, but he wants to score goals, as does every forward, so if he’s contributing like that, that’s brilliant. The two balls in were fantastic, he couldn’t miss them,” said Stockdale on Beesley.
Port Vale were back level soon after, but O’Keeffe won it for Rochdale 12 minutes from time.
“I wasn’t happy with our response after going 2-1 up, and that was the only bit I’ve mentioned to the lads after the game. We almost get a little comfortable and start passing in areas where I don’t think we should. It’s results that we need and at times there’s no shame at just clearing your lines and getting up the pitch. I felt that we just brought a little bit of pressure on ourselves but, saying that, the response after that was excellent again. So do we get a little bit comfortable when we’re in the lead and think that’s job done? It’s something we’ll look at, but, certainly, I can count on two or three occasions when we should just clear our lines and put your foot through the ball. It’s real life, don’t mess about - it’s not academy football, let’s win the game properly.”
And the Gaffer reiterated how important everyone is to the squad, after substitute Danny Cashman set up Corey O’Keeffe for the winner.
“He was excellent when he came on and full of energy and exactly what I want from the substitutes when they come on.
“I keep talking about it, but this isn’t going to be a successful season without every player. Every player has got to contribute - some will start, some will be off the bench. I’ve left Aidan White out of the 18 today purely because he needs to build his fitness up but he’s here and he’s contributing by giving advice to young Max. So, it’s going to take everybody to be successful and, yeah, it’s a great day for us.”
Watch the manager’s post-match interview in full on YouTube.