Manager's thoughts on JPT tie at Ashton Gate
Manager John Ward expressed his pride in his side’s performance at Ashton Gate last night, but condemned the actions of a minority of supporters who chose to invade the pitch to celebrate a goal and again at the end of the game.
Ward saw his side come off slightly second best in the first half of this Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Tie at Ashton Gate and they conceded a goal after just 12 minutes.
There was a change in Rovers after the break, though, and they took the game to their higher division opponents, scoring an equalising goal through Mark McChrystal, his first for the club.
City scored a second goal with 14 minutes of the game remaining, but although Rovers had chances to draw level again after that they just couldn’t find another goal and bowed out of the competition, their heads held high.
“I’m not disappointed”, said the manager, “and although we have lost the game by the odd goal we performed really well against a team that was in the Championship eight months ago when we were facing relegation out of the league.
“In that eight months we have rallied really well and you can take a lot of good things from a one goal defeat and tonight there are a great many good things we can take from this game. I’m very positive about the way we played as opposed to the way I felt after a single goal defeat at Newport.
“I thought that after the first 20 minutes or so we grew into the game as people found their way through. They scored the first goal with a great finish but we didn’t collapse and stayed with it and I thought we deservedly got back into the game in the second half.”
Mark McChrystal’s header put Ward’s side back on level terms and was one of three quality goals we saw in the game.
“It was nip and tuck after we scored with a great goal, before they scored again with another fantastic finish.
“I saw City beat Crystal Palace a week ago and I think we gave them a tougher game tonight than the one they faced against the Premiership side.
“This is the same group of players who have picked up this football club and we have come through and given it a good go tonight and were a little bit unfortunate not to get to a penalty shootout.
“However given the p[itch invasion at the end of the match it was probably good that the game didn’t get that far. You don’t want people on the pitch; it’s all about the players. It’s ridiculous that they come on the pitch and goad opposition fans and why people can’t behave themselves at a football match is beyond me.
“I think the players on both sides were terrific, but I feel the supporters were disappointing.”
John’s interview in full is now available to listen to on Gas Player