What Rochdale manager Jim Bentley said about Bristol Rovers after FA Cup defeat
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Rochdale manager Jim Bentley believed his team were the better side in their 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers. The Dale were dumped out of the FA Cup courtesy of a second-half goal from Scott Sinclair at the Memorial Stadium.
The League Two strugglers held the Gas to a goalless first-half but could not hold on as Sinclair scored a tap-in in what was his first Rovers goal. Joey Barton was complimentary of the Lancashire-based side as to how they approached the tie.
The statistics highlighted a closeness between the two with four shots on target from eight attempts from the hosts. Rochdale had tested James Belshaw three times from six shots whilst Rovers had 59% possession of the ball.
The plaudits and the ability to match a higher-ranked team count for nothing however with Dale now out of the FA Cup. Bentley likened the game to their defeat to Walsall a week ago in which they lost by the same margin, but had believed that his team was the better side.
He said to the official club media: “It’s as frustrated as I have been so far. You’ve caught me at a bad time to be fair, it’s ten minutes after the game. I’m frustrated, I am angry. It’s no good blaming the goal we conceded as to why we lost the game. We had numerous opportunities, the game plan was exactly as we thought.
“When we did get it right or we did get in, there were enough opportunities to win two games, never mind one. I pride myself as a defender, myself coming alive when the ball is dead and being robust.
“We can’t go away and say well done we’ve played well – I’m not having that. We’ve lost 1-0 again, like we lost 1-0 last week, and we were the better side again.
Rovers were without several players including Ryan Loft, Lewis Gibson and Harry Anderson due to injury, but a strong team was named. Sinclair was handed his first start after joining on a free transfer last month.
Rochdale had the better of the chances in the first period with experienced striker Ian Henderson getting several opportunities but he could not convert. Bobby Thomas almost turned the ball into his own net but the post saved the on-loan Burnley centre-back.
Rovers, after riding their luck at times, took a corner kick short and laid it off for a cross to be whipped in and James Gibbons was able to head it into the path of Sinclair who had the freedom to stretch his leg and prod it home.
The Rochdale manager had admitted that his team had been shown evidence of how Rovers attack from set-pieces, but they were unable to heed the warning signs.
Bentley added: “Another poor goal. Long throw, the first phase, second phase, no willingness to go and put your head on it or block things. Desire to go and clear your lines.
“We spoke yesterday, Bristol Rovers are quite bright with regard to their set plays. They play a lot short and we discussed which players will go out and discussed where the ball will be played.
“When it comes to big event, the FA Cup first round away from home and a game we are on top of, we go and concede a goal like that. At one end poor finishing and at one end, concede a poor goal again. It’s the hardest thing to score a goal, they’ve done it and we haven’t.”