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MANAGER: Probably a fantastic game for the neutral

More from the manager following the Tuesday night game

19 April 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Probably a fantastic game for the neutral

More from the manager following the Tuesday night game

19 April 2023

Another big Tuesday night crowd left Brunton Park knowing they’d seen an excellent game of football between two teams who went of it in their search for three points on the night.

Match Reports


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Speaking after the game, manager Paul Simpson said: “The second half was outstanding. We had a proper go, but I have to say that in the first half we didn’t.

“You could maybe look at the shape we set up with, but I still think even in the shape, we didn’t get up to the ball and win second balls and we allowed them to get a foothold in the game.

“The first goal might be a great finish, but it looks as if he’s mishit it to me, I don’t exactly know what happened. We went in 1-0 down at half time and I changed the shape because it just wasn’t working for us.

“We had to try and be brave and get some energy and legs about us. Jon Mellish was the catalyst for that with his running and chasing. I’ve said it all along, if you don’t work and chase people and make them make mistakes, you aren’t going to get anything.

“Second half I thought we were outstanding with the way we did that and we scored two really good goals. We just didn’t manage the game well enough after our second goal and we didn’t keep hold of the ball.

“There was too little time between us scoring and them getting the equaliser, but I would imagine as a neutral it was a fantastic game to watch. I thought the atmosphere inside the ground was absolutely outstanding, and that’s what football games are all about.”

“There wasn’t even any time for us to calm it down after we’d scored to go ahead,” he added. “I think the ball was in play for about 40 seconds between the two goals, we just didn’t have the opportunity to be able to do it.

“We blocked the first cross and we were two against two in the wide area, and sort of half closed down instead of going the extra yard or even extra half yard to maybe take one for the team.

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“We just didn’t do that well enough on that occasion and it was disappointing. First half they dominated but second half we caused them real problems, although when they brought Olaofe on his pace caused us an issue.

“I’m sure it was a really entertaining game for everybody to watch, but I just think we missed a trick by not getting the three points.”

Having put in the energy and effort, there’s bound to be frustration when the win isn’t the end result.

“You obviously want it to go our way but we maybe needed a bit of luck there,” he commented. “I thought we got a bit of luck right at the end because I thought there might have been a chance of a penalty for them, but I’m not surprised with this referee.

“I really hope we don’t get him again because I think he’s been poor on both occasions, unfortunately. And things haven’t quite gone our way and there were little bits of luck that we haven’t had.

“You can look back at the run of games we’ve had and go back as far as Stevenage where we should have had a penalty on Hunts, or Orient where there’s a double deflection and you lose the game, Bradford away with Gibbo’s shot right at the end bounces out off the post instead of bouncing in.

“At Gillingham Tomas makes a good save and it bounces straight to one of their players and on Saturday Denno’s header doesn’t quite go over the line. We just aren’t getting that rub of the green you have to have.

“Tonight I don’t think it was rub of the green, I just thought we should have done better with their second goal. When we talked about what Stockport’s strengths are we knew it was putting crosses into the box.

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“We asked for a goalkeeper to come out for those crosses and defenders to defend them if our keeper is coming, sadly we didn’t stop the cross, we didn’t have a goalkeeper who came for it and we didn’t defend it.

“I think when Owen Moxon has jumped for it, it’s put Jack Armer off a little bit, so it’s a really disappointing goal to concede. If we’d have managed the game better I think we could have seen it out.”

And it was always going to be a difficult task after the visitors had taken that first half lead.

“We did start the game well but as the first half went on I thought they got more of a foothold on it,” he said. “We set up with Jordan Gibson as a 10 to try and stop Croasdale, because he absolutely ran the game for them against Newport.

“I wanted Gibbo around him but they gave us a problem with their three centre backs and the way they split so wide, which meant our two strikers couldn’t really affect it. That’s why we changed it at half time, we had to go for it and thankfully the players responded.

“I thought they were outstanding second half and the put a real shift in. We now need to get freshened up because we’ve got an absolutely brilliant game to look forward to on Saturday.

“The players have shown in the second half that they wanted to have a go. There were some grumbles in the first half but we’ve been consistent with our shape this season and we’ve made in-game changes.

“We needed an in-game change tonight because it needed it at half time, and thankfully it worked and we got some momentum. I’m just disappointed we weren’t able to get our game management right after we scored our second goal, and that’s something we might need to look at to try and be better at it for the next time.”

“Overall it was a fantastic game,” he concluded. “I hope we see at least one more game at home at that sort of level. We’ve got to have a right good go at it.

“We’ve talked about the goals conceded, but I thought Tomas made some really good saves, as I think he has over the last few games. I think if he’s honest he’ll probably think he should have come for that cross, it was an outswinging ball, but it’s done now and we can’t do anything about it.

“The most important one is the next one and we’ve got to get ourselves right for it. We’ll make sure we’re recovered and refreshed then go again on Saturday for a brilliant game to look forward to.

“We learn lessons and we know we needed to manage that last 10 minutes better, so that’s something we need to look at. We’re a little bit inexperienced in that sort of thing, you can see they’ve got experience, they break the game up, make small fouls and stuff like that.

“They put balls into the box and cause problems which we expected, we just didn’t deal with that one in particular as well as we could have done in probably three different areas.”

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