English League 1

Another blow for Magpies boss

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Sat, 02 Feb 2013 20:10:00

Sir Alex Ferguson felt Manchester United deserved all three points following a narrow 1-0 victory at Fulham.

Wayne Rooney scored another late winner to put the Premier League leaders 10 points clear for 24 hours at least and Ferguson paid tribute to the defence, who have conceded just 16 goals in 12 away games this season.

"We had so many chances. It was a terrific football match and it was an excellent result, and I'm very pleased for us," said the Scot.

"They had some great chances. Our keeper (David De Gea), Jonny (Evans), Rio (Ferdinand) were terrific and we had a few chances ourselves, the second half in particular.

"In the first half we hit the woodwork three times but we deserved to win. They have had a great home record over the years and it is a very important result for us.

"It's a good position (we are in) we are pleased. Tonight you can look at the performance of the players. They put their bodies on the line, blocking shots, great headers out of defence, really determined effort by the players.

"It was similar to when we played here a few years ago when Cristiano scored near the end and we went on to have an undefeated run after that. It was around the same time too.

"It was a well-taken goal and Rooney was unlucky before that, hitting the post and having a couple of shots saved by the goalkeeper."

De Gea has come under fire after some uncertain performances this season, but Ferguson was quick to single him out for praise.

"It's not fazed him, for sure," Ferguson said of the recent criticism. "He enjoyed this game. It's a challenge and it's not easy for a young goalkeeper, but he's enjoyed tonight."

Goals from Paddy Madden, Ed Upson and Dan Burn secured the Glovers' fifth straight league victory - and condemned the visitors to only their second league defeat in 16 matches.

Johnson hailed his side after building on Tuesday's win over fellow play-off rivals MK Dons in perfect fashion.

He said: "It was a very important win over a very good side. They are above us in the table and we needed to pull them back towards us.

"It's a great victory and this team seems to be getting better and stronger. The more wins you get on the trot the more confident the lads become in showing no fear, which Ed showed when he struck the ball from 30 yards.

"To get it out of that surface was unbelievable - you'd think he would have needed a sand wedge or something. As soon as he hit it we knew it was on its way.

"The nice thing is that our supporters have now started to believe that we are up there in the mix for the play-offs.

"Every game we go into, I am confident in this group of lads and know they're going to compete and show the desire needed to be in the mix.

"I feel we are on the verge of something special. I've been saying it for a while - so I'm either a witch or a good judge."

Instead goals from Paddy Madden, Ed Upson and Dan Burn secured the Glovers' fifth straight league victory - and condemned the visitors to only their second league defeat in 16 matches.

Rosler said: "I think we were the far better team in the first 35 minutes, but we made one mistake and they punished us straight away. We had six or seven chances to take the lead.

"In the last month we have had three or four goals scored against us from shots outside of the box which have gone into the top corner. It's was a great bit of individual skill.

"The game was lost after the second goal. You have to score in your good periods and we had so many chances in the first half. We had to take at least one of them.

"They were more clinical than us, and in the second half Yeovil were defensively very solid. We didn't create enough and our set-pieces were not good enough.

"The longer the game went on the more the pitch cut up and it was difficult to play our game. They beat MK Dons this way and now they've beaten us. If this was a Premier League pitch I don't think the game would have gone ahead."

Loy bundled home what proved to be the winner a minute before half-time and eight minutes after Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro saw red for kicking Carlisle defender Frank Simek.

Tranmere threw everything at the Cumbrians after the break but found keeper Mark Gillespie in inspired form while Liam Palmer had a goal ruled out for offside.

And, after falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the League One leaders in their third game of the season, Abbott insisted it felt good to get his own back.

"Tranmere got our season off to an absolute nightmare when we played them in our first home game so we got a little bit of respect back against a side that has been unbelievably good this year," said Abbott.

"We are happy bunnies but there is a long way to go and we have our own ambitions to move up the table. Unless you roll your sleeves up you will get turned over at Tranmere.

"They work and fight for everything but we have got an honest and determined group of staff and players and I think we just about deserved to win.

"The sending-off probably helped them more than it helped us as we became a bit complacent but we have won the game and that is all I care about.

"Our defence has to take a lot of credit because we came under a lot of pressure and they have come under scrutiny at times this season but not too many teams come to Tranmere and get clean sheets."

Gavin Massey put Colchester ahead after just two minutes, but Jed Wallace's volley levelled the scores three minutes later.

Sam Sodje's clumsy tackle on Freddie Sears handed Colchester a penalty, which Sears coolly dispatched after 15 minutes before Massey's deflected strike made it 3-1 to Colchester five minutes later.

James Keene pulled one back for Pompey after 73 minutes, but their second-half pressure wasn't enough to prevent a seventh straight defeat.

Dunne hailed the U's resilience as they picked up a second consecutive league victory.

He said: "We've spoken about the fact we haven't scored enough goals, but we've been working exceptionally hard in training defensively and offensively and we're glad that has paid off.

"I thought we were resolute. A few weeks ago, we probably would have crumbled.

"As much as it's really pleasing to have scored three goals away from home, and we should have scored more, we can take as much from how we defended in the second half and how resolute we were.

"It's back-to-back wins, but we have to keep on playing. We have to keep on working hard. We can't rest now or else it will all fall around us again.

"Great credit to the players. We came off the back of nine defeats and now it's back-to-back wins. How quickly football changes."

Rory Loy bundled home what proved to be the winner a minute before half-time and eight minutes after Akpa Akpro saw red for kicking Carlisle defender Frank Simek.

Tranmere threw everything at the Cumbrians after the break but found keeper Mark Gillespie in inspired form while Liam Palmer had a goal ruled out for offside.

"Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro is a vital part of this team but he has let everybody down," said Moore.

"You just can't do what he did.

"He has kicked out at an opponent and now he is banned for the next three games. Some of the decisions were not good from the referee but he had no option with the sending-off.

"And if you are going to get promoted you have to take your opportunities. We need to put the knife in but we have committed football suicide in the first half.

"There was no spark from us in the first half. We showed spirit, desire and commitment after half-time but we didn't get that bit of luck we needed.

"The crowd got behind us and that is the tempo we need to play at but the sloppiness of the first half cost us. We have to win as a team. If players go missing then we are in trouble."

Gavin Massey put Colchester ahead after just two minutes, but Jed Wallace's volley levelled the scores three minutes later.

Sam Sodje's clumsy tackle on Freddie Sears handed Colchester a penalty, which Sears coolly dispatched after 15 minutes before Massey's deflected strike made it 3-1 to Colchester five minutes later.

James Keene pulled one back for Pompey after 73 minutes, but their second-half pressure wasn't enough to prevent a seventh straight defeat.

Whittingham, left fuming with his side's commitment in the first half, said: "If we're not careful, we're in danger of just being pleased we put in a good performance in the second half.

"Well, that's not good enough. You've got to give a good performance in the first and second half to win games."

Whittingham added: "There was just no commitment in the first half. All you ask of players when they do something is that they commit to it.

"We weren't committed to running forward, we weren't committed to challenges, we weren't committed to playing the ball forward and we weren't committed to making decent crosses.

"You can talk about commitment in different ways, but when someone goes into a challenge, you can see whether they're committed or not.

"When the ball is bouncing around and no-one is committing themselves that last little bit just to go and win it, put a head on it or put a foot on it, you can't excuse that."

Goals from Lewis Grabban and Marc Pugh, either side of Lowe's red card for a wild lunge on Tommy Elphick, plus Harry Arter's late stunner, handed the Cherries their third straight win.

And an angry Robinson admitted Lowe will be disciplined for his "idiotic" contribution to the Dons' fourth defeat in six npower League One games.

He said: "He has let everyone down, it's as simple as that. I don't condone it, I don't condone idiotic behaviour.

"We've had it before in the past with Gary MacKenzie and if I think you've shirked something or you've done something against this football club you either take it like a man or you walk away and you're gone.

"Listen, we all have moments of madness, we all do silly things - that was a silly thing and he'll be fined internally.

"But he feels he's let us down, he's apologised publicly and that's all we've got to say on the matter.

"I was disappointed with their players for the way they conducted themselves for large parts of the game.

"The way Elphick grabbed Ryan Lowe round the throat and doesn't get anything done to him and I heard one or two things that were said to him as he was walking off about his wife and his kids.

"We were the better team for large parts of that game, but that one error by Jon Otsemobor and the one by Lowey cost us the game really."

Goals from Lewis Grabban and Marc Pugh, either side of Lowe's red card for a wild lunge on Tommy Elphick, plus Harry Arter's late stunner, handed the Cherries their third straight win.

Dons boss Karl Robinson admitted Lowe will be disciplined for his "idiotic" contribution and Howe said: "I thought it was a disgusting challenge - really, really poor.

"Tommy has had injury problems in his career and I hope and pray he's not badly hurt. To do that to a fellow professional I think is really poor.

"He walked off the pitch but sometimes that can be deceiving - I did the same at Portsmouth and I wasn't seen again for two years.

"We'll have to assess the damage and see what injury he's got and whether the knee is stable.

"My players did very well to keep their cool and keep their discipline and not turn it into a fight because no-one wanted to see that."

Howe added: "It was a good performance. I'm really pleased we got the early goal, I think that made a big difference to us and settled us down.

"To come here and win 3-0 is really pleasing. I'm very impressed with the players and how they responded and adapted to the different challenges in front of them."

Pools are now eight points short of safety after clinching only their second home victory of the season - their first since September - and Curle felt his players' mentality was all wrong.

Goals from Peter Hartley and James Poole earned the points as John Hughes' side won back-to-back games for the first time since September 2011.

"It's the most disappointing defeat of the season," said Curle.

"We didn't start well, very slowly and a few players thought because of Hartlepool's position in the league they could turn up and win without performing.

"Football-wise between the 18-yard boxes we did well, passed well and caused problems. Inside the 18-yard box was where we had our own problems."

Pools took a fifth-minute lead when Poole superbly controlled a cross in the penalty area and his second touch was a confident finish.

County levelled when the lively Jamal Campbell-Ryce scored a fine individual effort in the 53rd minute, cutting in from the right and shooting low into the net, but despite being in the ascendancy County succumbed to a Hartley header from close range after 69 minutes.

"It was a soft winner from our point of view, we spent a lot of time on defending and set-plays, people know their jobs," Curle said. "Then you come to a game and they abandon their duties, top players, those at the top know their responsibility from minute one to 90.

"Lower league players tend to switch off and we have to spend more time on what we do.

"We had a two-man wall and the wrong personnel were in the wall. We went through it all on Friday, they know their jobs and then they change it on the pitch themselves."

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