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MANAGER: Hopefully the first of a few

Paul Simpson on a first goal for the club for Kristian Dennis

20 March 2022

Striker Kristian Dennis bagged his first goal for the club on Saturday afternoon and it proved to be a hugely important clip past advancing stopper Paul Farman late in the second period, with a stunner from Ollie Banks moments later highlighting the need for the two-goal cushion.

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“I’m delighted for him,” manager Paul Simpson said. “I’ve just said to him that he’s earned that over the five games.

“He’s absolutely worked his socks off and he’s got a bit of nouse about him. He’s got the experience that can make a difference.

“The reason I went with him instead of Lewi Alessandra in the first game when I got here is that I remembered him scoring goals at Chesterfield, when Jake [Simpson] was the fitness coach there.

“That’s why I opted for him. His work rate is incredible and he’s got his reward, which is brilliant. That’s where experience comes in, and it’s why I wanted an experienced group to try and fight for the last 15 games.

“He’s worked so hard for very little reward, and hopefully that’s the first of a few more for him.”

“At this stage of the season, a win’s a win,” he added. “When you’re scrapping for your lives like we and they are, they’d have taken a scrappy, horrible win as well, but we’re the ones who’ve done it.

“I thought we scored two good goals, it was a great finish from Gibbo and a great one from Kristian. Some good things out of it, and we’ve just got to get ourselves ready for the next one now.

“We have to have this, we have to earn the right to win games and you have to scrap to do that, that’s how it all starts. We start with the work ethic, the togetherness, and that’s what’s dragged us through in the end.”

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Part of the Saturday challenge was adapting to an enforced early setback, when captain Callum Guy limped off the pitch.

“I said this when I first got here, it isn’t going to be 11 players who get us through, we’re going to need the full group,” he said. “There are players who were left out on Saturday, Mitch Roberts was one of them, but it was a game where I went with more attackers on the bench because I felt it was really important.

“Mitch missed out because of that. I had to speak to him once Jack Armer told us he wasn’t feeling well, because if jack wasn’t right in the warm-up I’d be changing it and I’d need him.

“There’s a chance these lads will play a part between now and the end of the season and you have to be ready, as Danny was on Tuesday, as Corey was on Saturday, to come on and affect a game.”

Explaining the change which brought Danny Devine on as Brennan Dickenson moved to left-back, he told us: “I think it was more that we needed some energy, because that’s what a game like this is about.

“We needed legs to do the work and Jack was struggling with this - whatever it is - that’s going around. I decided that I needed to put Dicko out there, because he was showing more legs, and to be fair he won some headers.

“That was important because that was our get-out. I thought Danny did well in midfield alongside Corey, and overall it was a really strong team performance that’s got us a big three points.

“They had a couple of other little skirmishes as well, and a couple of the lads have just told me that they didn’t think we defended well enough, but that was horrible.

“Some of those deliveries from set-plays were incredible. Our keeper did well on a couple of occasions, and we had to put our head on it and defend it.

“I thought it was a fantastic finish from Banks for their goal. We looked as if we’d done ok then it dropped to him and he rifled it in. Credit to him, but thankfully it’s not a goal we have to worry about because we came out on top.”

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