Hill’s worst day


THE worst day in Keith Hill’s long as­so­ci­a­tion with Rochdale Foot­ball Club.

That’s how the man­ager de­scribed Satur­day’s 4-0 de­feat against Bur­ton with the low point com­ing not at the end of the con­test, but rather the half­way stage. Dale trailled by two goals at the in­ter­val, hav­ing strug­gled to im­pose them­selves on the game, and there were a num­ber of sup­port­ers boo­ing, par­tic­u­larly in the Main Stand.

Hill took ex­cep­tion to this as his con­fi­denceshot play­ers made their way to­wards the tun­nel, mak­ing a pointed ges­ture of sup­port for the team.

As he later sug­gested, it wasn’t toxic – but it was a far from pleas­ant at­mos­phere.

“I felt it was im­por­tant that I en­cour­age the play­ers,” ex­plained Hill.

“I think that was the worst ex­pe­ri­ence that I’ve had, per­son­ally, dur­ing my time here as a player, coach and man­ager. Def­i­nitely.

“I was try­ing to give some en­cour­age­ment to the play­ers, hav­ing been a player my­self and know­ing what it’s like – you can’t see the next pass, you are try­ing but it’s mis­guided, you start do­ing things you shouldn’t do which leads to more prob­lems and it’s dif­fi­cult for them play­ers and I just wanted to sup­port them the best I can.”

The per­for­mance im­proved af­ter the break and Dale de­served some kind of life­line in the con­test. But the game was up in the 78th minute when Liam Boyce scored and there was yet time for Mar­cus My­ers Har­ness to com­plete his hat-trick.

There were five changes to Hill’s start­ing line-up with Mag­nus Norman, Kgosi Ntlhe, Dan Ad­shead and Aaron Mor­ley drop­ping to the bench while Har­ri­son McGa­hey had de­parted the club the day pre­vi­ous for Scun­thorpe.

In came Josh Lil­lis, Joe Raf­ferty, Jor­dan Wil­liams, Brad In­man and Matty Gil­lam.

In­man had the first open­ing of the af­ter­noon, get­ting in be­hind the Bur­ton back­line wide on the right, his at­tempt to clip the ball past Bradley Collins into the far cor­ner drift­ing across the face of goal with the on-loan Chelsea goal­keeper beaten.

Bur­ton’s first chance came about when David Tem­ple­ton’s cross from the left picked out Lu­cas Akins and his header was only nar­rowly off tar­get.

In an even open­ing 15 min­utes it ap­peared Dale had shaken off the ill ef­fects of heavy de­feats in their pre­vi­ous two matches, Gil­lam’s in­field run from the left end­ing with a dip­ping ef­fort a yard wide of the post.

Tem­ple­ton and Akins teamed up again to good ef­fect in the 16th minute, Tem­ple­ton’s in­tel­li­gent pass split­ting the Rochdale de­fence and send­ing Akins through on goal, the front­man un­able to pick out the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

The Brew­ers were ahead in the 18th minute, an in­swing­ing cor­ner flicked on by Jake Buxton and forced over the line by My­ers-Har­ness at point blank range.

Dale came close to lev­el­ling ten min­utes later when a fine move saw Ian Hen­der­son and Gil­lam tee up Jor­dan Wil­liams for a shot at tar­get ten yards from goal, Collins block­ing the ef­fort with his legs.

But Bur­ton raced down the field and dou­bled their lead with the next at­tack, Akins lay­ing the ball off for My­ers-Har­ness to fire a left-footed shot from 20 yards wide of Lil­lis and into the net.

Scott Fraser al­most had a third, crash­ing a ris­ing drive into the sup­port­ers be­hind the goal at the Sandy Lane end while Cal­lum Camps and Raf­ferty both saw shots charged down by the Bur­ton back­line.

Nathan Stirk

●●Mar­cus My­ers-Har­ness scored a hat-trick against Dale at the week­end

Sean Hans­ford

●●Keith Hill de­scribed Satur­day as the worst he’s ex­pe­ri­enced in all his years at Rochdale

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