English League 2

Boothroyd: We rode our luck

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Tue, 01 Jan 2013 21:36:00

Iker Casillas wants to give Jose Mourinho no choice but to reinstate him in goal after he was dropped to face Malaga last month.

The controversial decision prompted much debate, especially after Real went down 3-2, with back-up goalkeeper Antonio Adan taking Casillas' place.

Mourinho claimed the decision was "purely technical" and insisted he did not regret dropping the Real captain despite defeat leaving them 16 points behind Barcelona.

Casillas has been only professional and discreet about Mourinho's decision and on Wednesday told reporters he is just determined to regain his position.

He said: "I'm training myself to fight, to fight and to recover the position. It is the goal that I have and that the coach selects me in the next game."

The Spain international added: "I feel good but I'm not a machine, I have to train every day and there are better and worse times, but I feel fine.

"Above Casillas is Madrid. The decision is the coach's.

"In any case, the day I no longer have the desire to work, I'll stop."

Higginbotham, 34, signed in time to make his debut in the 2-2 draw at promotion rivals Doncaster and played the full 90 minutes.

Blades central defender Neill Collins is expected to be sidelined for the next two months after suffering a triple fracture to his cheekbone in the Boxing Day win over Scunthorpe and boss Danny Wilson has moved swiftly to find a replacement.

Higginbotham, who has not featured for Stoke this season, has recently completed a spell on loan at Ipswich for whom he made 12 appearances.

He began his career at Manchester United, and commanded a seven-figure transfer fee on three occasions when signing for Derby, Southampton and Sunderland. He is currently in his second spell at Stoke.

Rommy Boco fired Stanley ahead after 65 minutes and the Benin international's ninth goal of the season proved to be decisive.

Cook's promotion-chasing side were guilty of squandering a host of opportunities either side of the goal and the Spireites boss said: "It was always going to be difficult. The (Stanley) lads were always going to be up for it with a manager coming back.

"It's a great win for Accrington but we are disappointed as we are looking for promotion but we have a habit of conceding goals and not taking our chances and with that you do not win games.

"It wasn't for lack of effort, we dominated for long spells for we couldn't finish but all we can do is keep working hard."

The Stanley boss took over following Cook's departure in October but has endured a torrid time and headed into the fixture with one win in 11 League Two matches to his name.

But Rommy Boco's 65th minute strike proved to be the perfect tonic.

"It was thoroughly deserved," said Richardson.

"Our goalkeeper Cameron Belford was Man of the Match but it could have been any one of XI. We haven't got we deserved in some games in December so it was nice to get a win to start the new year.

"January is a big month for us but, at the moment, I am just really pleased for every single one of the players.

"It was weird being in a separate dug out to Paul Cook as I learnt a lot of him when he was manager here and I was his assistant.

"I talk to him every day and have a lot of respect for him. I know the loss will hurt him but, if he had to get beat, he would have preferred that it was us he lost too."

The victory propelled the Shots to three points above the League Two drop zone.

The winner came in controversial circumstances as referee Carl Berry pointed to the spot, having adjudged David Stephens to have handled Sonny Bradley's goal-bound drive.

Craig Reid stepped up and confidently slammed the spot kick past Graham Stack, and things went from bad to worse for the hosts as they were reduced to ten men when Jon Nurse received his marching orders for a dangerous challenge on Dani Lopez.

And Bees boss Edgar Davids was enraged yet further as his men were denied a leveller, with Jake Hyde ruled offside having bundled home Ricky Holmes' near-post centre.

"It's a massive win for us today. I'm not going to apologise for pushing the players and striving for better," said Holdsworth.

"With the standard of the players in that dressing room, we want to be pushing up the division and it's really important that we do that.

"It wasn't going to be a classic game. Both teams are working extremely hard for their survival and wins. On the basis of that, to come here against a Barnet side that has been in confident mood is a fantastic win.

"It was handball - I don't think anyone does it intentionally now, but you can't have the ball touching your hand in the penalty area. My own personal opinion is that there wasn't intent.

"It looked, with the momentum Jon [Nurse] had going in on Daniel, that it could have been reckless. The referee hasn't got a rewind, but it looked quite a bad challenge."

The winner came in controversial circumstances as referee Carl Berry pointed to the spot, having adjudged David Stephens to have handled Sonny Bradley's goal-bound drive.

Craig Reid stepped up and confidently slammed the spot kick past Graham Stack, and things went from bad to worse for the hosts as they were reduced to ten men when Jon Nurse received his marching orders for a dangerous challenge on Dani Lopez.

And Bees boss Edgar Davids was enraged yet further as his men were denied a leveller, with Jake Hyde ruled offside having bundled home Ricky Holmes' near-post centre.

"I think the penalty was harsh. In my opinion, when the ball is that close, he can't really do anything about it. So, his first reaction is get out of the way and that's what he did," said the disappointed Barnet boss.

"The referee said [Jon] went over the top of the ball, if that's so, it's a red card. If not, it was a bad call.

"Hyde's goal was onside. In this particular match you have to be sharp and you see that the standard of the refereeing was not up to the normal level. And it's very disappointing for us that it resulted in a loss.

"I definitely feel that the team was leggy. You already saw that at Exeter. But the fresh legs that came in did ok.

"In the second half we started slowly, and you see that if you're not concentrated anything can happen.

"I would definitely have settled for seven points over Christmas. Christmas was definitely very good for us."

Seven-goal striker James Hanson wasted a glorious opportunity to give Bradford victory when he weakly sent a close-range free header straight at Shrimps stopper Barry Roche 10 minutes from time.

Bentley said: "It wasn't the greatest football spectacle in the world I have to admit but I cannot fault the lads from both sides for their tremendous effort.

"It was a difficult day to play attractive football but both sides tried to do that and I think a draw was a fair result overall.

"My heart was in my mouth when Hanson had that late chance but thankfully for us he didn't get the connection he wanted.

"We are now unbeaten at home since the middle of September and have only conceded four goals here in that time and that is a real positive for us.

"We didn't create too many chances in the game but we looked really solid again and kept a good shape, which was important against a very good side. We always knew it would be a tough afternoon but we gave it our all again and will take the point and move on."

Seven-goal striker Hanson wasted a glorious opportunity to give the Bantams victory when he weakly sent a close-range free header straight at Shrimps stopper Barry Roche 10 minutes from time.

Parkinson said: "It was the one great chance of the game and I'm sure he will still be wondering how he hasn't scored.

"It is the sort of chance you need to put away in games like this, it's as simple as that. But he hasn't and we will move on and a point away from home against a side enjoying a good run at home is not a disaster.

"I asked the lads for a response after the defeat against Rochdale at the weekend and I am happy I got that.

"It was a tough game but one I think we deserved to win on the balance of play. We changed things in the second half and Kyel Reid and Nahki Wells gave us fresh legs and we ended the game on top but just couldn't get the breakthrough we needed."

An own goal from Abu Ogogo gifted Cobblers a 36th-minute lead, with Sam Williams squandering a couple of good chances for the visitors either side of the opener before Chris Hackett quickly doubled Northampton's advantage.

Matt Saunders and Brian Woodall both then went close for the Daggers before Kelvin Langmead put the result beyond doubt for Town seven minutes into the second half, with Scott Doe finally reduced the arrears in the 71st minute.

"I thought we were not really up and at it and I don't actually think we were in the game," boss Still said.

"Despite not playing well I felt we dealt with everything they had - long throws, corners - I thought we did okay. A different team came out the second half and we could have been 3-2 up before they got their third goal.

"For the third goal the boys just said it came in, it's been whipped in, it's hit someone and gone in. We've gone from being really secure defensively, not the back four, just as a team, to not being secure.

"It's the make-up of the team that can determine how the opportunities come around and the make-up of our team in the first half wasn't good enough.

"We never played the way we know we can play, but in the second half we did. If you play that way for 90 minutes and you get beat you say 'okay that's fair enough, we played our bit' but we haven't played our bit for 90 minutes."

Two goals in quick succession put Cobblers on their way at Sixfields but the Daggers had opportunities to make their mark before slipping to a third defeat on the bounce.

An own goal from Abu Ogogo gifted Cobblers a 36th-minute lead, with Sam Williams squandering a couple of good chances for the visitors either side of the opener before Chris Hackett quickly doubled Northampton's advantage.

Matt Saunders and Brian Woodall both went close for the Daggers before Kelvin Langmead put the result beyond doubt for Town seven minutes into the second half, with Scott Doe finally reduced the arrears in the 71st minute.

Boothroyd said: "We rode our luck and it was a very scruffy performance. Give credit to Dagenham, they came to try and stop us playing but we got the goals at the right time.

"Dagenham gave us a lot of problems and their set-play was a cause for concern in the second half.

"We looked ring-rusty because of the lay-off, having two games postponed. But you are never going to play good football every week of the season, with the amount of changes, injuries and the weather.

"It turned out to be a comfortable victory in the end but now we need to get some consistency back into our games.

"The result has given us the platform to push on for the play-offs. We've got games in hand but we're going to be playing against teams around us now."

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