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The Inquest On The Bristol Game

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 10/08/2005

RUSSELL Slade, in the after match media conference said Town are more resilient and have a winning attitude that carried them to an away win at Bristol.

"It's the first time that I've been able to put out the same side in a long time. I never had that. I think the first time I had that last season was the back end of November or December. I was able to do that tonight - I'm sure that helps."

"I think that we were unfortunate not to be at least two goals to the good because we played some good stuff.

"I think that having the memory of previous games and not being able to get back into them - we might not have even squeezed a draw.

"I'll say to the fans, we are more resilient now and we are capable of doing those type of things. The attitude that we have got is that we want to go forward. I believe that we really have a chance."

Bristol Rovers manager, Ian Atkins, gave his opinion of the game to the Bristol Rovers Official site and he had a lot to say about Town's playing style;

"It was a hard fought game, and we fought hard to go 1-0 up," Ian told "But for the first 20 minutes of the game, and towards the end, their strikers worked very hard to pull us apart."

"Up until we scored, their strikers were prepared to work hard whereas ours weren't, and credit to Grimsby, they dragged us about. But we got our noses in front and from there we should really have killed it off."

"Ryan Williams was through and he chose the wrong option when he should have shot, and Junior Agogo had a chance when he tried to be clever instead of squaring the ball so it would have been 2-0. And what particularly disappointed me about that incident was that not one of his team-mates said anything to him."

".…When we went 1-0 up, with 15 minutes to go, you shouldn't lose it.!"…."

"I was happy to go in 0-0 at half-time because their strikers had been causing us problems. They put our defence under pressure and they forced us to making a couple of mistakes. The goalkeeper made a couple of good saves, but it was the amount of time they got down the sides of us just because their strikers were prepared to work hard that cost us."

"It's not rocket science, it works, and for us we weren't prepared to work hard enough up front. When we went 1-0 up, with 15 minutes to go, you shouldn't lose it. And from 1-0 to 2-0, the game would have been dead."

Ian describes Grimsby as a "set-piece team" and highlights the fact that all three of the goals they've scored this season have come from dead ball situations."

"Of course it's disappointing to lose the first home game, but we will persevere and plug away and do all we can to make things right." "They had one long free-kick and a corner that they scored from and that was the disappointing thing," he said.

"That said, they had a couple of opportunities from corners before, but we knew that we had to deal with set-pieces because that is what they are good at."

".…Grimsby are a "set-piece team!"…."

"We were coping reasonably well, but they had something like 15 corners in the end, and the law of averages says that at least one is going to end in a goal and unfortunately for us it all happened right at the end."

"With 15 minutes to go you shouldn't lose a game like that, but if their goals had come from general play then that would be a major concern," he said, "But we knew their strength would be set-pieces, they are a set-piece team, and all three of their goals this season have been from set-pieces."

"That is this division though, and if you don't batten down the hatches when you play sides like Grimsby then you will get undone. You have got to compete with them, because they will get results from the way they play, it's when you're 2-0 up or 3-0 up that you can begin playing free flowing football.

"Grimsby basically just smacked the ball into the corner and the strikers would chase it and get pieces off that. Their strikers were prepared to do that and to be fair they had us penned back for long periods without being especially dangerous, apart from the first 20 minutes. But you have to give them credit, because they worked hard in that department."

"It was a tight game, but what else can you do? We played with three strikers but we didn't work hard enough and if we had have done and pulled people away like them, then we would have got the same chances that they did in the first 20 minutes.

"It's horses for courses, Grimsby played Oxford who were 4-4-2 at the weekend and Oxford couldn't get out because their wing-backs kept them back."

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