John Ward's thoughts on goalless draw
Manager John Ward was probably happier than his Cheltenham counterpart, Mark Yates, after last night’s goalless draw at Whaddon Road.
A depleted Rovers squad meant that Ward was only able to name five substitutes for the game, but the manager was rightly proud of the performance of the starting eleven.
“I was proud of my players tonight because we were two short on the bench and we lost Ollie Clarke earlier in the day with a tight hamstring.
“We were also missing Chris Beardsley and John-Joe O’Toole, through suspension, so we had to work hard at our shape.
“Players like Mitch Harding, normally a striker, has completed his first full 90 minutes and in a midfield role and he contributed to a really strong team effort.
“It had to be that because Cheltenham played some good football, particularly in the first half when we had to stay strong with them
“In the second half we found our feet a little bit and gave them one or two problems at the other end of the pitch and I was pleased both with the effort and the outcome.”
A draw was probably a fair result, though both sides had chances to take all three points.
“It was a tight game and that extends our run to one defeat in seven games
“Naturally you would prefer to be winning games because of the three points, but away from home against a team that has now gone six games undefeated I can’t honestly claim we should have won the game.
We could have done, but by the same token we could have lost.”
It was difficult to single out any individuals in a fine team performance, but the two full backs and striker Matt Harrold deserve a great deal of credit for their roles.
“I thought both full backs were excellent tonight and in the second half we managed to step up the pitch a little bit more.
“Matt Harrold also did well and worked very hard against two centre backs. We wanted to be hard to beat, initially, and see if we could win the game later on.”
Rovers did get the ball in the net in the second half, through Lee Brown, and the manager felt that incident spurred his team on.
“I think the goal that was disallowed, rightly so, for offside gave our supporters and our players confidence and belief.”
The manger's interview in full, as well as an interview with Lee Brown can now be heard on Gas Player