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MANAGER'S VERDICT: ROCHDALE (HOME)

21 December 2019

NIGEL Clough said an improved performance level and more quality in the box earned his side three points in a 3-1 home win over Rochdale.

The Brewers manager said: "The performance level was good today and far better than it was last week. We still conceded a soft goal early on, but we put more good quality balls in the box, got more bodies in the box and got the three points.

"It would have been nice not to concede after two minutes for the second consecutive home game, as that sets you back, but I was pleased with the way we responded to that, the way we stayed composed, played football and the first half was as well as we have played for some time.

"We got plenty of yellow shirts in the box all throughout the game and you want a ball to bounce your way, and when it did, Ryan Edwards popped up to get the equaliser.

"To get back into the game quickly was vital and we were that much on top at that time in the first half I don't think 2-1 did us justice at half-time.

"A team like Rochdale are going to come back into it and the fact that it was only 2-1 at half-time gave them that encouragement that they could get back in it, which is why we were pleased when that third goal went in.

"Liam Boyce got the goal and he hasn't smashed it, it's almost trickled across the line but he has hit the target in the bottom corner. You don't score if you put it over the bar and wide. He deserved his goal today and it's lovely that despite being under pressure for 15/20 minutes in the second half that we went on to win it as over the course of the game we deserved it.

"We had no Quinn today, no O'Toole, no Broadhead, no Templeton as well so we brought Ben Hart back from his loan to provide a bit of defensive cover and he ends up getting on for a couple of minutes, gets a whack and comes off with blood on his shirt. A nice introduction to league football for him."

Overall Clough hopes the fans enjoyed an entertaining pre-Christmas game.

He said: "It was a good game. There were no yellow cards, both teams were knocking it about, creating chances and there were a lot of shots in the game.

"A rest and a bit of training now and we get ready for Boxing Day."


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