NEW ERA BUT NO JOY YET FOR NEIL

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Scott Hunt

NEIL McDon­ald has urged Black­pool’s sup­port­ers to for­get about the past and con­cen­trate on the fu­ture af­ter wel­com­ing them back to Bloom­field Road.

It was Black­pool’s first home game since a pitch in­va­sion forced the aban­don­ment of their last Cham­pi­onship clash against Hud­der­s­field due to un­rest over the Oys­ton fam­ily’s own­er­ship.

But there was no win­ning re­turn, as Ian Hen­der­son’s strike four min­utes from time sealed the win af­ter the im­pres­sive Donal McDer­mott had given Rochdale the lead mid­way through the sec­ond half.

McDon­ald said: “The fans were fan­tas­tic. They stayed all the way un­til the end which is great.

“Come and watch. We want you to come and watch your team.We rep­re­sent Black­pool Football Club and we’re try­ing our best.

“We’ve lost 2-0 and con­ceded two bad goals in my opin­ion but we’ve cre­ated lots of chances.

“It was a tale of two sides. They took their chances and we didn’t. If we were get­ting beat 2-0 and not play­ing well and not cre­at­ing chances I would be wor­ried, but on both cases we weren’t.”

Rochdale cre­ated the first chance in the tenth minute when McDer­mott squared to Hen­der­son, whose curl­ing ef­fort from 18 yards was tipped wide by Kyle Letheren.

And Black­pool didn’t cre­ate their first op­por­tu­nity un­til the 40th minute, when Mark Cullen broke clear but Josh Lil­lis saved the shot from 12 yards with his legs.

Rochdale tested Letheren again through Joe Bun­ney, whose fierce strike from 18 yards was pushed be­hind by the Black­pool keeper af­ter 57 min­utes.

And, just a minute later, Rochdale scored through McDer­mott, who broke the off­side trap be­fore driv­ing the ball home left-footed from 15 yards.

Black­pool could have equalised in the 80th minute – Cullen head­ing wide un­marked from 12 yards – be­fore Hen­der­son latched onto a weak header from Lloyd Jones and coolly slot­ted past Letheren from eight yards.

It made for the first time in 16 years that Rochdale have won their first two league matches – and only the sec­ond time they have ever beaten Black­pool at Bloom­field Road.

How­ever, the only statis­tic Rochdale boss Keith Hill is wor­ried about is point tal­lies.

And Hill said: “I thought it was a very pro­fes­sional per­for­mance. We are just pleased. It’s the first week of the sea­son, we don’t look too deeply into his­tor­i­cal facts.

“You’ve got to turn a blind eye and not lis­ten to the side shows at Black­pool. What’s the point of us get­ting in­volved in that?

“We’ve got to re­main con­sis­tent over the course of the sea­son, we’ve got to show in­tel­li­gence and the game-man­age­ment was good.

“As long as the sta­ple diet of our tac­tics re­mains in place and the play­ers stick to it I think we will be OK this sea­son.

“We’ve just got to fo­cus on a 90-minute game and it was a very good 90-minute game from our per­spec­tive.We were con­fi­dent with the two re­sults we’ve had but I thought it was a very pro­fes­sional per­for­mance.”

PIC­TURES: JMP

STAR MAN DONAL

MOTT McDER

le Rochda HEN PARTY: Ian Hen­der­son cel­e­brates Rochdale’s late goal. Inset: Donal McDer­mott slots home

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