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McCall on Rochdale loss

23 March 2019

Manager Stuart McCall provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after the team’s 3-1 defeat away to Rochdale on Saturday afternoon.

Aaron Wilbraham fired Rochdale into an early lead when he slotted the ball home after 14 minutes at the Crown Oil Arena.

However, United produced a quick response, as Jordan Hallam levelled the scoring just a few minutes later when he stole possession from a Rochdale defender before running in on goal and striking into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.  

As the teams emerged for the second half, Rochdale raced into another lead when Kgosi Ntlhe turned in a deflected shot from Oliver Rathbone on 50 minutes.

Wilbraham then rounded off the scoring with a header at the back post after a right-wing cross picked him out in the area ten minutes later. 

Speaking to iFollow Iron after the match, McCall reflected back on the result and said: 

“I’m just puzzled as to how we were so poor at the start of the second half. We started ever so well in the game, we had eight attempts in the first ten minutes. Funs (Funso Ojo) has put one wide and then we’ve had some more opportunities to score. 

“Then, in one of their first attacks, they score from an individual error which we seemed to have eradicated, but it’s come back with a bang at the moment. 

“Jordan (Hallam) then capitalises on their mistake at the back and did what he has been doing in training and in the development team in recent weeks which is put the ball in the back of the net. 

“After that, we had two or three great opportunities, so we went in at half-time saying they’ve only really had counter attacks.

“Aaron Wilbraham is an experienced player who is difficult to defend against and Ian Henderson is one of the top players at this level, so we always knew they were going to be a threat. I’ve seen Rochdale play two or three times this season and they always create opportunities, but they are always susceptible at the back. 

“For 20 minutes they didn’t even get out of the back because we started with a better tempo. 

“Overall, it’s something that we’ll have to sit down and analyse again over the weekend.”

He continued: “It wasn’t all one-way traffic, in the first half, they had some breaks on the counter attack which is what we expected them to do because they are a free-flowing side, but we also expected to have opportunities. 

“However, when they do come about, we need to take them and we’ve had the chances to do so, but we haven’t done that, so it’s definitely a sore result to take. 

“It’s a test of character now, there are ten or more teams down there who are having the same worries and concerns, but we know what we need to do because we have been in the same situation already this season. 

“It’s all about sticking together because you never get any success with just individuals and that’s what will get us the result. 

“We need to cut back the errors which have been coming back lately. Overall, today was hugely frustrating and disappointing and we have to do a lot better.”

Speaking about Hallam, who netted on his EFL debut, McCall added: “I think in the first half especially, Jordan was getting away from Callum Camps regularly and getting in behind the defence. With a better pitch, he would have been able to get another shot away early, but the ball bounced and bobbled so he couldn’t get a shot off when he was through on goal. However, he took his goal well and was one of the bright sparks who was key in what we were trying to do during the opening part of the game. 

“I don’t think we’ve got any injuries from today. Tony (McMahon) came off at half-time, but we had a chat because he had been booked and he’s a passionate lad and we didn’t want him to get sent off.”

The boss concluded: “All the remaining games are big, we want to get enough points as quickly as we can and we’ve not managed to do that today, so we need to bounce back.”

United's next game sees them host AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, March 30th and tickets can be bought now from

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