Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy was close to tears after Gillingham equaliser



Posted Sunday, January 24, 2021 by PA

Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy was close to tears after Gillingham equaliser

Brian Barry-Murphy admitted he felt like crying after John Akinde’s stoppage-time equaliser denied Rochdale all three points in their 2-2 draw at Gillingham.

Vadaine Oliver put the Gills a goal up in the first half but Rochdale flipped the game on its head with two strikes in seven minutes from midfielder Jimmy Keohane.

However, substitute Akinde volleyed home in the third minute of stoppage time to prevent Dale from claiming a first win in six league games.

“I did feel like crying at the end there – only for the players and their efforts,” the Rochdale manager said.

“The overall picture is that this was one of our very best performances based on what we produced and who we had available. But there’s still a lot of stuff we can work on and get better at.

“We kept possession well but also penetrated Gillingham and created really good chances by breaking forward very quickly. That was very productive for us in the second half.

“The intensity we played at was fantastic, especially having gone a goal behind to one of Gillingham’s rare attacks before half-time.

“It was Jimmy’s 30th birthday yesterday (Friday) so his two goals are a great birthday present for him. The end of those moves will be shown a lot but the phases of play and how everybody got involved was breathtaking.

“That’s testament to the lads’ willingness to play football. We were behind at that time and we could have gone into a shell, but the courage and the skill they showed was amazing.”

Gillingham manager Steve Evans was also left frustrated at full-time, insisting his side should have won.

The Gills had a fine chance to go 2-0 up early in the second half but Connor Ogilvie failed to beat goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu with a close-range header, while Thomas O’Connor should have set up Oliver for his second goal minutes later.

“It’s two points left behind today. But Rochdale are a good side – they went to Charlton two weeks ago and scored four,” Evans said.

“I’m just majorly disappointed as there are key moments in games – as I say every week – and we made two gilt-edged chances at the start of the second half.

“If we go 2-0 up we’ve got a foothold in the game and we probably go on to win this comfortably.

“Once we found ourselves behind we had no option but to throw caution to the wind. We were playing six or seven up front in the final minutes.

“Then John Akinde does what he should do. We told him to go and get us that goal when he was about to come on. It’s a tremendous finish, a full-on volley. A late goal is always a good goal if it gets you something.”

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