John Ward's thoughts on loss at the Pirelli Stadium
Defeat at Burton Albion yesterday cost Rovers much more than the three points.
Red cards for on loan striker Chris Beardsley and midfielder John-Joe O’Toole has left the squad severely depleted as they prepare to take on Cheltenham Town on Tuesday evening.
That thought was uppermost in the manager’s mind as he reflected on yesterday’s performance at the Pirelli Stadium.
“I lost Ellis Harrrison and Seanan Clucas before the game with slight injuries, and the 18 players we brought here today were the only ones we had. Now we are down to 16 if Ellis and Seanan aren’t available for Tuesday night.”
Of the sendings off he said; “Chris Beardsley was sent off for a late tackle and the referee has seen it as a red card.
“I agree that it was a late tackle, but it was the referee who decided it was a sending off offence.”
“It changed the game but I thought my team stood up really well and stayed in the game. We still had a chance, going into the last few minutes, of taking something from it.”
O’Toole was red carded in time added on, just as Rovers were preparing to launch a free kick into the Burton area and hoping to gain a last gasp equaliser.
“The assistant referee said that O’Toole pushed a player in the face with both hands and if he did that, then he deserved to be sent off.
“When we are chasing the game I need players like him in the box to win a header, not to cause a problem for his team and be sent off.
“It was a massive disappointment for him, for me, and for the supporters because we were going right to the wire to try to win a point, having been a man short for the entire second half.
“Now I am going to lose him and Beardsley for three matches in a key period of the season for us.”
Of the game itself, he said; “It was a scrappy game but I thought we dug in well. “Perhaps we needed to be a little bit quicker with things but they were the home side and pressed us a bit, but we handled that and goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall had an excellent game.
“Burton scored from a terrific strike that deserved a goal but even then we felt we could get something out of the game.”
John’s full post match interview, together with an interview with skipper Tom Parkes can now be heard on Gas Player