Manager on defeat against Plymouth
Rovers boss John Ward was disappointed his side were unable to register their first away point of the season at Plymouth this afternoon and had to watch as they were beaten by Reuben Reid’s 82nd minute goal for the home side.
“It was a frustrating afternoon”, said the manager, “and at half time I was hoping that we hadn’t lost the opportunity to win the game.
“I thought both teams, following their midweek games, produce below par performances and I just thought that in the first half Plymouth were there for the taking but we fizzled out at the top end of the pitch and didn’t really work their keeper enough.
“All of our games, apart from a goalless draw against Scunthorpe, have been settled by a single goal whether for or against us and I think that sums up where we are at this moment in time.
“There probably aren’t enough goals in the side at present and we need to improve at that end of the pitch.”
It would be fair to say that none of his first choice strikers, David Clarkson, Matt Harrold, Ryan Brunt and Eliot Richards are fully fit at present and Richards was missing again today with a hamstring injury.
“I’m having to man manage the front end of the team and I’m fine with that and not using it as an excuse. The three front men we had out there today, David Clarkson, Matt Harrold and Ryan Brunt do need to be managed because they have missed a lot of games through injury.
“The other boys have six or seven games behind them and have the required fitness levels in them and I expect a bit more from the team in the top half of the pitch.”
Tiredness wasn’t offered as an excuse for the performance.
“Players would rather play than train and there is no reason why my team should be more tired than anyone else. We do have players who aren’t quite at the level of fitness we would like them to be at, but we are getting there.
“I did feel that we were a little bit naïve in our play at times today and played what I would call ‘hopeful’ football rather than build with a little bit of a base and that’s something we have to try to improve on.
“I think we gave away five or six free kicks in a similar area to the one they scored from and they used the same routine every time and we allowed them to do it and hoped we would clear it. On the one occasion we didn’t we lost the game and that’s the naivety I am talking about.
“There has to be a little bit more leadership and listening amongst the players. We all want promotion but I think I have to stabilise and improve this club and we are trying hard to do that and we will have our ups and downs along the way.
“I’m disappointed with today, of course, but we are working really hard at the club and if everyone keeps doing that we will be OK in the long run.”
John’s full post-match interview will appear on Gas Player later this evening.