Blue­birds run out of steam but Cox makes no ex­cuses for gulf in class

The Non-League Football Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By BOB HER­BERT

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

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