HILL LAUNCHES AGENTS ATTACK
KEITH HILL slammed Scott Hogan’s advisers for almost ruining the career of Rochdale’s top scorer, after his hat-trick sunk AFC Wimbledon in style.
Hill left Hogan out of the Dale’s home defeat to Dagenham last week, because “he was in no fit state to play” after speculation linked him with a move elsewhere.
But post-transfer window and restored to the starting line-up, Hogan showed exactly why he provoked such demand with a game-deciding hat-trick that crescendoed with an exquisitely-taken third to fire Rochdale to an impressive victory.
Hill said: “I’ve never rested Scott Hogan – for the last three weeks he’s been all over the place to be quite honest.
“I saw him smile for the first time last Saturday when he knew the window had closed.
“He never wanted to go anywhere, but he’s had people pulling him from pillar to post trying to orchestrate a move.
“It's a lesson for him. People who are supposed to be advising him can absolutely destroy him.
“All he’s ever wanted to do this season has been to play for Rochdale, score goals and be free from any pressure.
“Let him be. Leave him to me and let him be happy and he will propel us to somewhere near the success that we need this season.
“I’m not letting him talk to anyone now.”
For 66 minutes both sides struggled with a blustery wind and crumbly pitch, but the hitherto scrappy game burst open when goalkeeper Ross Worner gifted Hogan the crucial opener.
Matt Done’s loopy cross lured the keeper off his line, but the ball stuck in the wind and Hogan pounced in front of Worner to nudge the ball over the line.
Hogan’s second soon followed, rounding Worner and sliding the ball into the empty goal after Peter Vicenti played him clear.
Hogan sealed a rare victory against a fellow top-half side for the Dale with his glorious third, lofting the ball over Worner and inside the far post.
It left Dons manager Neal Ardley claiming Rochdale’s first goal was the key turning point in the match.
He said: “It’s very rarely just one mistake that costs a goal and the first goal was a loose pass, a poor touch, a bad decision, the fourth player switched off and let someone run off him and the fifth player was beaten to the cross.
“It’s a catastrophe. There wasn’t much in it, but after their goal we’ve folded.
“Players stopped doing their jobs and that is really difficult to take for me. We lost players and had to change shape because we didn’t want to put round pegs in square holes.
“But that shows why we don’t have the personnel to play 4-4-2.
“We couldn’t get hold of the midfield, but you can’t expect that midfield to do that.
“We were out-run, out-tempoed, out-muscled, out-everythinged out there.
“We went to pieces.We need to be better and that’s what we’ll be working on next week.”
STAR MAN SCOTT HOGAN Rochda
le CRUNCH: Scott Hogan scores for Rochdale. Inset: Hogan celebrates