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League Two

Keith Hill hails Rochdale team effort

21 April 2014

Rochdale boss Keith Hill heaped accolades on players and supporters after second half goals from Joe Bunney and Matt Lund saw them beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 and take a massive step towards automatic promotion from League 2.

A recent dip in results had lifted the hopes of chasing teams. But Hill insisted performances and the belief of supporters have never dipped.

He said: "Our fans cheered us off after losing at home to Southend and that meant so much. They could see that we were still playing the right way.

"Although we hadn't found the net in recent games, we are the top scorers in the division and I knew the team had goals in them. The players were fantastic and the backing they received was tremendous.

"I have a lot of young players and the future is bright. We knew Bristol Rovers would throw everything at us and that's how it proved, but we stood firm

"Even when we were a goal down at half time I wasn't worried because we were playing so well. I was confident the lads would turn it around."

Kaid Mohammed had put Rovers in front in the 17th minute running onto a through pass from John-Joe O'Toole to slip a low shot past the advancing Josh Lillis.

Rochdale equalised seconds after the interval when substitute Bunney clinically shooting home from a George Donnelly pass, with the hosts having wasted possession from their kick-off.

Former Rovers loanee Matt Lund scored the goal that pushed his old club closer to dropping out of the Football League. He was left with a simple tap in in the 63rd minute after a low cross from Michael Rose had been allowed to reach the far post

D.arrell Clarke felt his Rovers team paid the penalty for playing two games in less than 48 hours, having faced Portsmouth on Saturday, while Rochdale were one of many League Two clubs to play on Good Friday.

The young manager said: "There was no shortage of effort from the lads, but we looked leggy in the second half. On the day Rochdale's fitness levels were better than ours.

"At the start of the second half we knocked the ball out of play from our kick-off and they scored after 46 seconds, which was criminal from our point of view.

"Such is our situation with injuries that I had to ask a lot of young players to do big jobs. That isn't ideal, but as things stand I don't see any of the lads under treatment recovering in time to face Wycombe on Saturday.

"That is a massive game for us, but they have all been huge since I took charge. We have to regroup and go again."

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