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INTERVIEW: A game that had a bit of everything

18 February 2016

Midfielder Luke Joyce on his return to Accrington

Midfielder Luke Joyce spoke to us about an interesting 90 minutes of football on Tuesday night which was also, of course, his return to his former stomping ground.

“It was a game that had a bit of everything,” he said. “Controversy, red cards, goals and the Carlisle fans getting on John Coleman’s back. It was definitely feisty and to be fair they’re a good team.

“They’re tough to play against on their own pitch and it never helps when you go down to ten men after 30 seconds, or whatever it was. That changes your whole game plan and the way you wanted to go into the game.

“I thought we did really well for an hour or so, certainly up until they scored, and that came from nothing. Hallam [Hope] went to clear it and it went straight to their lad. Other than that we defended well, we looked strong at the back and we never really looked like we would concede a second.”

On the Jabo Ibehre red card incident, he said: “I couldn’t believe it. Jabo was looking at the ball and he went to bring it down. The lad has gone in to get it as well and I think it was a collision more than anything else. I think he can feel hard done by to get a straight red for that.

“Performance wise, I think we responded well to what was an obvious blow. The gaffer had told us a few home truths on Saturday because we just weren’t good enough at Newport. We gave him that and we managed to do it with just ten men for almost the whole game.

“To come out of a game like this with a point isn’t a bad result for the efforts we’ve put in. It’s one where we probably earned what we got.”

“Like I say, it’s a challenge for everyone when you have a player sent off that early,” he commented. “You need to show spirit and fight and you have to work hard. It was all about shape and communication and we had to make sure we didn’t let them play through us.

“They’re a decent football team who like to play it around and we had to concentrate and talk to each other to make sure we were filling the gaps. If we can do that with ten men there’s no reason why we can’t do even more with eleven. 

“We’ve taken four points off a team in the play-off places in the space of ten days and that bodes well for the future. We need to build on this with a home game coming up on Saturday and we’ll be looking to take all three points from that.”

And on his own return to the starting line up, he said: “It’s been frustrating to miss out this past couple of weeks, through suspension and injury, and I’ve only recently got back to full training. 

“It always takes a couple of games to back into the swing of things but I felt good and I think the 90 minutes will do me the world of good. It was nice to come back here and see everyone again. 

“There aren’t many fans here but the ones who do come make a lot of noise and they love the club. I made sure I went over to them at the end to give them a little clap because I had great times here. I loved every minute of my time with Accrington and I enjoyed coming back.”

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