United boss Chris Beech gave us his reaction to Sunday’s FA Cup meeting with Doncaster Rovers shortly after the full-time whistle had blown.
“The lads gave it everything,” he said. “They’ve given it for themselves and the supporters, so well done to them for that.
“We’re out of the FA Cup so it’s a hard one to take, especially when we’ve done so well. You have to give great credit to Doncaster and Darren Moore because they play some lovely football.
“They’re very strong in League One and they dominate games at that level. For us to put them on the back foot is credit to our efforts.”
“In the games this season where we haven’t quite got what we wanted, whether we’ve drawn or been beaten, we’re competing,” he continued. “It’s important that we always do that, but it makes a defeat harder to take when it’s like that.
“You can’t sit down with 15 minutes left to go because you’ve been well beaten and you’re out of it but, to be honest, I don’t want to be in that position. I want to be competing for everything and it’s great to see that’s what the lads are giving us.”
With two good goals from Ben Whiteman opening up a gap for the away side, he told us: “It was superb finishing from an excellent midfield player.
“That’s what he does and that’s why people talk about him. We kept him quiet and I think that’ll be the least amount of touches he’ll probably have had in a football match for a long time. But that’s what good players do, they find a way.”
On United’s missed opportunities, he commented: “We should have been one up before he got his first chance.
“I spoke to Jon, he didn’t really know where he was off the run he made, and he felt like, in retrospect, he should have just headed it into an empty goal.
“He didn’t know if anybody was going to challenge him, he turned into it, didn’t quite get it right. He should have scored, but he didn’t. I don’t think the game changed on that, because I felt as though both teams were boxing well, boxing clever. It changed on two outstanding moments from their central midfield player.
“It didn’t happen for us, but I was really pleased with the attacking players. It was good how we battled in midfield and made it very hard for them to play through us. We kept a strong number nine very quiet, so other than two very good goals we made sure Doncaster knew they were in a fight.
“In theory we have four or five good, strong attacking players – when Brennan is fit it’ll be six – and they give me options. Micah Obiero didn’t even make the squad today, and he’s another who can add.
“That’s what you want, because you want it to be competitive. Lewis Alessandra came on and took us up another level, and you want people to impact like that. Our squad has the capability to help us over a long period because of the options we have in there.
“The boys keep going and it’s good to see. It should make everybody proud who is associated with the club. It should be a great marker for the younger players who aren’t in the team to see that this is what they have to be.
“There’s a standard to try to reach to be a professional footballer. It’s also a marker for us to keep progressing it from this point onwards.
“What the lads are doing is for all of us, it’s we not me, it’s not mine it’s ours, we share everything. As a group we are strong, and we saw that again today, but we didn’t quite get what we wanted.”
One of the talking points from the game was a penalty appeal from Josh Kayode as he tumbled in the box ahead of half time.
“For it not to be given and then be punished with a yellow card, especially when we’ve had big decisions against us here when we’ve not screamed and rolled around, I find it hard to take,” he said. “The ref made his call and all they keep saying is look back at it. I haven’t looked at it yet but I definitely heard contact.
“You could hear the clash of legs from the dugout. It was very harsh to book him, and I was disappointed when we were attacking and a great ball in is excellently defended at the near post, but they got a goal kick. Just, come on … but what can I do. I don’t ref the game as well as manage my team.”
And a welcome introduction to FA Cup action for Josh Dixon brought a tactical switch later in the game as the manager threw more men forward in search of extra time.
“I sent Josh on to try to get that telling pass, like he can, or maybe a shot from the edge of the box because he’s got a really good eye for goal,” he told us. “At the point when the clock’s ticking down you look at it and, at that stage, we’re out of the cup.
“We can bring Jon, Callum or anybody else off, but it was one of those things where it happened to be that the right call was to take Josh off and get another forward on.
“Then we have Gav, JJ, Lewi, Omari and Jon, who are capable of goals, and we know we can go for it that way. We just needed that chance, and Gav got half of one where he had to stretch to shoot.
“Josh knows it was nothing to do with his ability, it was simply what I felt we needed to do try to stay in the competition.”
On the feeling in the dressing room after the game, he said: “They’re angry, disappointed, felt a little bit agitated, possibly from the refereeing at certain things in the game.
“You can get a reputation as a manager for constantly moaning so I won’t go down that line. We didn’t quite get what we needed. They’re frustrated because they know – as a player or any contestant in any sport, you feel when you’ve gone toe-to-toe with somebody that you have that feeling within the game that you’ve got a chance. They certainly felt that.”
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