19 February 2022

Robbie Stockdale demands Rochdale play from the start after comeback win

19 February 2022

Boss Robbie Stockdale is desperate to see Rochdale start games like they finish them after watching his side wake up in the second half to beat bottom club Scunthorpe.

Dale trailed to Manny Onariase’s 13th-minute opener for the Iron but after Liam Kelly equalised not long after the restart, Max Taylor won it in the 83rd minute – earning the visitors a first victory of 2022.

“It was a game of two halves, but I’ll take full responsibility for the first half – I tried to change a few things and it didn’t quite work,” Stockdale said.

“Half-time we made a tactical switch to try to get a bit more pressure on higher up the pitch.

“In the second half I thought we were very, very good and the dominant team in a game of very few chances.

“Players don’t mean to go out and make mistakes but when sometimes there’s a bit of anxiety, you almost start a game not wanting to lose rather than wanting to go and win.

“Then when you go behind, it’s almost like the shackles come off and there really is nothing to lose.

“There were some honest words spoken at half-time and we got a response, but we’ve got to start more games like that.

“Look at us in the second half – some of our football was really, really good. But we get it that we need to win games.

“Let’s hope this is the start of a nice little run.”

Onariase forced the ball home following a scramble after Rochdale had failed to clear a free-kick in a first half that struggling Scunthorpe dominated.

But the visitors never looked back after Kelly’s deflected strike drew them level in the 51st minute, and Taylor won it seven minutes from time after seeing his initial effort saved by Rory Watson.

Defeat leaves Scunthorpe in even deeper trouble in the relegation zone and was described as “a missed opportunity” by their manager Keith Hill.

“The second-half performance really hurt,” said Hill, who spent 11 years as Dale boss in two spells.

“I was pleased in the first half with the way we played in and out of possession, and when we got the ball we played on the attack.

“The first half was good as I’ve seen from us in terms of controlling the game.

“I believe it’s what you do with the ball that gives you an opportunity to go and win a game. In the second half, I don’t know what happened.

“We were positive and confident at half-time and I told the players what to expect, but it was a total contrast to the first half.

“We allowed them to gain momentum because we didn’t pass the ball well, and ultimately we paid the price for our poor performance in the second half.”

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