James Rowberry reflects on Rochdale

Newport County gaffer James Rowberry was disappointed with the first 20 minutes at Rochdale, but believes his team rectified the situation later in the game.

Rochdale took the lead after two minutes on Saturday afternoon and went 2-0 up in the second half through a controversial penalty decision.

It then became 3-0 in the 89th minute on a counter-attack as Newport chucked bodies forward in an attempt to get back into the game late on.

"The first 20 minutes of the first half disappointed me the most, I think we got outdone a little bit in central areas," Rowberry said post-match.

"We rectified it a little bit with the change of shape but ultimately we didn't defend well enough as a team which has cost us the game. I felt we were in control of the game later until the penalty, which disappointed me on two counts.

"Mickey [Demetriou] gets bowled over - it's a foul and then Mickey gets the ball for the penalty."

Newport's next game is a tough test against league leaders Forest Green on Boxing Day - if it goes ahead - with a raft of COVID infections leading to postponed matches up and down the Premier and Football League at the weekend amid calls for a Circuit Breaker across British football. 

"I hope Boxing Day goes ahead because we need to put things right from [Saturday]," Rowberry continued.

"It will give us that extra edge and extra motivation to do well in front of our fans and the traveling fans [Saturday] were amazing, they didn't stop. I feel more disappointed for them as well because they came a long way.

"We have to do what is best for society and for football, so as long as we can do things safely, that's what we have to try and do."

While Saturday's result was naturally disappointing for Rowberry, he was quick to give Rochdale credit for an impressive display for the hosts.

"They're a good team and they were excellent in transition today. I can't take anything away from their performance, they were very good. Their two number 10s were causing us problems so we needed to push Matty and Robbie up to deal with their two 10s so that's why we did that. We didn't deal with it particularly well.

"The lads spoke really well afterwards in the changing room so that pleased me a lot as well with how the senior group felt what we needed to do after a performance like that so that pleased me a lot."