HILL: SQUABBLING A THING OF THE PAST
FLEETWOOD ......0 ROCHDALE ........3
ROCHDALE manager Keith Hill insisted his football philosophy and methods were vindicated in the wake of Dale’s comfortable victory over Fleetwood.
Ian Henderson, George Donnelly and Jason Kennedy scored the goals which eased any lingering relegation fears for Rochdale who are now eight points clear of the bottom two.
Fleetwood meanwhile are three points off the play-offs following the defeat with Andrew Mangan missing a second-half penalty and Nathan Pond seeing red.
And Hill believes his players are starting to buy into his vision at Spotland and reserved special praise for former Fleetwood striker Donnelly.
“Over the last seven weeks we have worked on my beliefs and how we should be playing football,” he said.“What we have is a collective squad buying into the way the game can be played.
“But there have been a lot of fights along the way with the play- ers to prove I am right. Players will follow your lead if they understand your plan and they do understand it and the key now is consistency.
“George Donnelly was my star man and he is learning to trust me. I’ll forgive him for the mistakes he makes as long as he works hard for the team.
“With hard work and application then for me George could be the next Grant Holt.”
The visitors took the lead on nine minutes when Bobby Grant released Donnelly who squared for Henderson to slot past Scott Davies.
Their advantage was doubled on 61 minutes as Donnelly finished at the second attempt after his initial shot was partially blocked by Davies.
Substitute Mangan’s penalty was saved by Josh Lillis low to his right after a foul on Jamille Matt before Pond received his second yellow for an off-the-ball incident.
Rochdale’s third came in the final minute as Kennedy rifled a right-footed shot from 20 yards past the despairing dive of Davies.
Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander lambasted the performance of his players, insisting it was the worst display he had witnessed for a decade.
“There was no semblance of a performance whatsoever,” he said.“There was no competitiveness, ability, energy or pride.
“We were totally bereft of any- thing and for me that’s the bottom of the barrel because there is not one positive I can take.
“For me it’s the worst I have seen for ten years and not of any professional standard whatsoever. It was just not acceptable on any level and I’m embarrassed by the lack of anything shown by the majority of the team.”
CHAMPION SOUND: Danny Kedwell is mobbed after netting the only goal