Hill: I’ve put Dale through the mill

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Harry Wilmin

ROCHDALE’S run with­out a win ex­tended to ten games as MK Dons twice came from be­hind to sal­vage a point at sta­di­ummk – and Rochdale boss Keith Hill said he “felt sorry” for his play­ers.

Hill’s side twice took the lead through Steven Davies and Nathaniel Men­dez-Laing’s strike five min­utes from time, which looked set to end Dale’s win­less run that stretches back to the turn of the year.

But Ben Reeves’ lev­eller in the 91st minute res­cued the Dons a share of the spoils as they pre­pare to head to AFC Wim­ble­don’s Kingsmeadow for the first time in League One on Tues­day night.

“This is prob­a­bly one of the hard­est places to come in the Football League, never mind League One,” said Hill. “I’ve been here many a time and it’s al­ways been dif­fi­cult.

“I think this is the quick­est we’ve reached 50 points with 12 games to go.

“But at this mo­ment in time I ac­tu­ally feel sorry for my play­ers be­cause what I’m ask­ing them to put them­selves through is quite ridicu­lous.

“There are a num­ber of our play­ers who weren’t 100 per cent match fit yet, and I thought we played well and de­served to be 1-0 up.

“We ab­sorbed a lot of their pres­sure with­out look­ing un­der too much pres­sure.”

Hill’s side had taken a 16th-minute lead as Calvin An­drew’s cross caused havoc in the Dons’ de­fence and al­lowed Davies a header that smacked back off the post, be­fore the 29year-old was first to the re­bound to head home.

The hosts clawed them­selves back into the game as Kieran Agard was first to Har­vey Barnes’ cross to bun­dle the ball home for his 13th goal of the sea­son. And Dale thought they had ended their win­less run thanks to Men­dez Laing’s goal, but Reeves’ left-footed strike flew past Dale keeper Ben Wil­son to sal­vage a point.

“I think we were lucky to come away with a point,” ad­mit­ted Dons man­ager Robbie Neilson.

“Rochdale are a re­ally phys­i­cal and ag­gres­sive team, but it wasn’t good enough for us – you have games like this dur­ing the course of the sea­son and it’s some­thing we are go­ing to need to work on.

“I didn’t think we were ag­gres­sive enough in our pass­ing, we had a bit of pos­ses­sion but we just weren’t ag­gres­sive enough with it.

“We have to make sure that we rec­tify that for Tues­day be­cause that’s go­ing to be a real test for ev­ery­one.”


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