THE DALE PACK A PUNCH!
Bluebirds run out of steam but Cox makes no excuses for gulf in class
BARROW’S FA Cup dream is over again – for a record 12th time in the third round – as two well-executed goals by Ian Henderson saw Rochdale go sailing through.
“No doubt about it, the better team won,” said the Bluebirds boss Paul Cox.
“I don’t want to be too down about it. There has to be a sense of pride in how far we have come in this competition, but the journey is over now.
“They were far more clinical in the final third. I thought we had chances, but the first goal was crucial.
“When they scored, the dynamics of the game change. You have to start chasing the game and the good team that Rochdale are, they picked us off for their second goal.
“We tried to get back into it, but it just wasn’t to be and we know now why Rochdale are where they are.
“I was disappointed at the manner in which the goals were conceded and now it is vital how we react to this defeat.
“There were stages where we matched them in departments, but the calmness of some of their payers stood out.” Barrow nearly fell behind as early as the sixth minute when Joe Rafferty raced down the left flank and
squared the ball across goal, but Callum Camps couldn’t get the vital touch.
Then Calvin Andrew had a blast deflected for a corner. But it was only momentarily relief for Barrow as Steven Davis whipped over the freekick and Henderson was there to head the visitors into a 17thminute lead.
Barrow showed the threat they could be in the 24th minute when keeper Conrad Logan did well to push away a Richie Bennett shot, and while the ball rebounded to Moussa Diarra, he put his attempt straight at the keeper. But many of the narrow escapes were at the end Barrow were defending. At the start of the second half, Davis showed his intent with a free-kick that went inches wide of the Barrow keeper’s right post. Barrow did press, but the openings were not coming and the game was settled in the 61st minute when Henderson fired home his second goal from a great pass from Oliver Rathbone.
Barrow kept plugging away, but Byron Harrison headed into the keeper’s arms and then a low ball from Jordan Williams flashed across the face of the net. And in the final seconds Harrison crashed a shot inches wide.
So the gap of 51 places in football’s Pyramid structure was just too great for the Bluebirds to overcome.
A happy Rochdale boss Keith Hill said: “I thought we got through with a great performance. We were very professional, we had a great attacking intent and I thought we stifled the opposition with regards to the major threat, which was set plays.
“We prepared the players for the worst on Friday and during the course of the week, but we were pleasantly surprised. We controlled possession and I’m really pleased with the attacking intent. We probably should have scored more goals, but we nullified their threat.” STAR MAN: Keith Keane (Rochdale) ATT: 4,414 ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★ REFEREE: David Webb 8/10
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Ian Henderson makes it 2-0