English League 2

Sturrock aiming to strengthen

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Sat, 12 Jan 2013 20:00:00

Barcelona's David Villa has been ruled out of Sunday's Primera Division encounter at Malaga through injury.

The Spain striker, who scored twice in the 5-0 midweek Copa del Rey win over Cordoba, picked up a hamstring injury in training on Saturday and has been withdrawn from the squad.

Villa was also forced off in the 77th minute of Thursday's cup tie with a leg injury and Barca say it is too soon to tell how long today's latest setback will keep him on the sidelines.

"The striker noticed discomfort during training this afternoon and, after testing, has been shown to have a hamstring elongation and will not play in Malaga," read a statement on fcbarcelona.es.

"(The injury's) evolution will decide his availability for the next games, as determined by the club's medical services."

Jake Hyde got the show on the road for Barnet with a clever lob over advancing Millers goalkeeper Andy Warrington after 21 minutes, racing on to Mark Byrne's ball down the right flank.

And eight minutes from time Barnet completed the job, Ricky Holmes beating his marker wide on the left and squaring for substitute Andy Yiadom to sweep home an unmissable chance.

Raynor said: "We started brightly and their 'keeper made one or two good saves, but then it petered out.

"We certainly had enough possession, in fact we dominated possession, but we were very disappointed with the result and the performance. Three individual errors were to blame for the first goal, giving the guy an easy chance.

"But with all the possession we had we didn't really create any clear cut opportunities. For the second goal we were throwing men forward and were susceptible on the break, but it was another sloppy goal that could have been avoided and we need to cut those out.

"That's five we have conceded in the last two games and we need to cut those out because it's just not good enough."

Jake Hyde got the show on the road for Barnet with a clever lob over advancing Millers goalkeeper Andy Warrington after 21 minutes, racing on to Mark Byrne's ball down the right flank.

And eight minutes from time Barnet completed the job against their promotion-chasing hosts, Ricky Holmes beating his marker wide on the left and squaring for substitute Andy Yiadom to sweep home an unmissable chance.

"I didn't expect it," Davids said. "But it went our way.

"Two very good goals as well but we have played better without getting the points, but we got the points. We had some good spells which I am happy about, but we have played better.

"If it had been 0-0 I would definitely have been delighted, but now I am even happier because we won.

"That's three wins in four but we still have to stay focused because every game for us is a final no matter who we play against because, at the end of the day, we are still close to the bottom of the league. Four of the bottom five have won so if they keep on winning we have to keep on winning."

The Shrimps found themselves 2-0 down after just 16 minutes at Home Park, Conor Hourihane and Paris Cowan-Hall putting Argyle into a commanding position in what was John Sheridan's first game in charge.

Substitute Ryan Williams reduced the arrears for Morecambe but it was not enough and the visitors saw Andrew Parrish sent off late on.

"Indiscipline has cost us. They had a new manager coming in and the crowd were up for it so the last thing we needed to do was give them a two-goal headstart," Bentley said.

"We made some poor decisions, which cost us two goals. Credit to Plymouth, they took the two goals well but they did not have to work too hard to get them and that's what disappoints me. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

"Once we changed it around and made some tactical substitutions we took control and should have got something out of the game given the amount of possession we had and the chances we created.

"We scored a good goal but should have had more than one goal to show for all our work and possession.

"I must mention the Plymouth pitch - and the groundsman who has done a good job - because the pitch was perfect, one of the best we have played on. It meant we were able to play some good football."

Skipper Conor Hourihane and Paris Cowan-Hall put Argyle into a commanding position before substitute Ryan Williams reduced the arrears for the Shrimps, who saw Andrew Parrish sent off late on.

Victory moved Plymouth out of League Two's drop zone, and Sheridan said: "The most important thing was getting the three points. We rode our luck at times but all that mattered was getting the win.

"We got off to a flying start with two great goals but when we were 2-0 up we needed to show a bit more nous.

"It's early days yet, though, and they area young side. I am going to have to teach them how to build on a lead.

"The most important thing is the three points. I am really pleased with the players because their attitude here and in training has been different class.

"Obviously the two goals coming so early did us a big favour and gave us a cushion. We got a bit edgy late on but that's natural in our position, it's not been very often they have had a two-goal lead to defend."

Danny Woodards, Eliot Richards and John-Joe O'Toole were on target for the Pirates as they cruised past a below-par Fleetwood.

Ward said: "We knew it was possible to win the game, we told the boys they could do that and they have.

"You never come to a place like this, against a team in the top six or seven and expect a comfortable afternoon. And it wasn't a comfortable afternoon, it was just good finishing and a lot of hard work. We had a lot of defending to do as well.

"The front players will get the credit but with 35 or 40 minutes to go the back four had to win the game for us and shut them out and they did.

"It was a result for front-foot football. If we had stayed off and let them play they are a good side. But we got amongst them and caused them trouble."

Danny Woodards, Eliot Richards and John-Joe O'Toole were on target for the Pirates as they cruised past a below-par Town side.

Alexander, who handed a debut to record signing Jamille Matt, said: "We just didn't get started, conceded an early goal, just didn't do the basics of any professional football game.

"Bristol Rovers came here, wanted it more than us and thoroughly deserved the three points."

Lee Hughes claimed the winner on his debut for Vale, although the final touch may have come off home defender Adam Barrett.

Hughes' goal made it 2-0 in the 20th minute following a rip-roaring start from Vale at Priestfield, with Tom Pope having headed in his 24th league goal of the season early on.

Danny Kedwell pulled one back less than 60 seconds after Hughes' finish, but the Gills were unable to force an equaliser.

"We created numerous chances but you have to say you don't want to be 2-0 down in the first place," Allen said.

"At 2-0 down it's tough for the players to come back and play. They could have hidden, but they came back and gave everything they've got.

"I fully expected us to win in the second half to be honest, we had numerous chances but it wasn't to be.

"When you haven't won at home for a few weeks there's always going to be little things slipping into the players' minds. You could say those demons do strange things to their confidence and those two early goals put everybody on the back foot.

"I don't care about the pressure of being top of the league. We've been there for all of the season, and now we've got a challenge on our hands to get past Port Vale."

Adams believes the Valiants will become a favoured scalp in the division after they moved above Martin Allen's Gills with a 2-1 win at Priestfield.

Lee Hughes claimed the winner on his debut for Vale, although the final touch may have come off home defender Adam Barrett.

Hughes' goal made it 2-0 in the 20th minute following a rip-roaring start from Vale, with Tom Pope having headed in his 24th league goal of the season early on.

Danny Kedwell pulled one back less than 60 seconds after Hughes' finish, but the Gills were unable to force an equaliser.

Adams is now urging his side to avoid any complacency. He said: "We've shown once again that away from home we're more than capable of getting results, but we have to keep reminding ourselves of how we got them.

"All the principles and disciplines you need to get results we've applied them. I think it was a battling performance to a man; they put their bodies on the line.

"Racing into a two-goal lead, it looked as though we were comfortable at that stage but Gillingham don't give you a minute's peace, you can see why they've been top of the table for so long.

"It feels great being top. It's doubly hard now - we're there to be shot at.

"We've experienced it before this season, and in my first spell at the club we didn't handle it too well. I told the boys to not get carried away - it's only three points, but they showed they can compete with the best."

Medy Elito's winning goal in the third minute of stoppage-time gave Dagenham & Redbridge a 2-1 victory.

Andrew Tutte had put Dale in front in the 72nd minute before Abu Ogogo levelled three minutes later.

Coleman cut a frustrated figure after he presided over a third straight defeat.

He said: "It's a blow for us, of course. We'd worked on one or two things in training but unfortunately some of the players just didn't carry the necessary instructions out when it came to match day.

"That's been happening just a little too often lately and it's something we really need to try and drum into them.

"It's going to be a difficult run-in to the end of the season.

"Our fans have seen some decent stuff at times this season, but it's got to get better.

"Somehow we seemed to be missing that cutting edge and when you're in a situation such as ours we need to pick it up.

"There's been talk of a push for the play-offs but on this evidence we've got no chance."

The Robins slumped to the foot of the Championship table after the drubbing by Nigel Pearson's Foxes.

Director Jon Lansdown said in a statement: "This is a decision we felt we had to make for the good of the football club.

"Derek has been a pleasure to work with; he's disappointed but he understands the decision.

"We want to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting out of the situation we are currently in and we've got 20 games to do that."

The 41-year-old left Kilmarnock to take the Robins job in October 2011 and kept them in the Championship during his first season in charge.

But the Ashton Gate outfit have struggled this term, winning just six out of 26 league matches as well as being dumped out in the first round of the League Cup and third round of the FA Cup.

The heavy loss inflicted by Leicester proved to be the final straw, with McInnes dismissed after losing 31 of his 62 games in charge.

Assistant manager Tony Docherty has been asked to take training on Monday and the club will hold a press conference on the same day.

The Grecians had not won in front of their own supporters since November 6 and went into the game with only three victories on home soil all season.

But a John O'Flynn double sandwiched Scot Bennett's superb header as Exeter picked up three big points to move into the automatic promotion places.

"The win was built on a very determined group of players, which we have been for the last few home games, and I am really pleased with the way we stuck to the basics," said Tisdale.

"We did the right things and got some really good goals to boot just to cap the result.

"All three goals were good goals and the corner (from which Bennett scored the second) was well worked. Jimmy Keohane was really selfless to set up the third and very few players would have done that in that situation and it showed what a classy player he is.

"When you have 11 players playing for the team, playing together and moving as a team trying to do their best and the little bits you have been working on start coming together, then you start to get results. As a result, we got a very valuable win.

"I am sure there were a few nerves in the second half because the players have been through some anxious times at home this season. We haven't given the home supporters much to cheer about, but I am sure we did today."

The Grecians had not won in front of their own supporters since November 6 and went into the game with only three victories on home soil all season.

But a John O'Flynn double sandwiched Scot Bennett's superb header as Exeter picked up three big points to move into the automatic promotion places.

Sturrock said: "We are very disappointed. I thought we had a lot of opportunities in the box and we didn't get on the end of them. We lost a bad goal two minutes before half-time and if we had scored first it might have been a completely different game.

"The second half was a weary-looking team trying to chase the game and it has cost us dear.

"I thought we got into the right areas in the first half but our final finish let us down.

"We have lost three league games in a row now and we need to focus on that because we haven't scored a goal in that period either. For the team performances we have put forward this season it is not good enough and I will have to look into it."

Sturrock added: "There are two or three positions we need to strengthen. I am looking at the squad and it is threadbare.

"I have got three weeks in January to bring in some players. Anybody coming in will be cup-tied but we can still hopefully bring in players that can help us in the league."

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