Barry-Murphy praises Rathbone winner as Rochdale beat Accrington

Brian Barry-Murphy said Olly Rathbone's 71st-minute goal was good enough to win any game as Rochdale beat Sky Bet League One relegation rivals Accrington 1-0.

Brian Barry-Murphy said Olly Rathbone’s 71st-minute goal was good enough to win any game as Rochdale beat Sky Bet League One relegation rivals Accrington 1-0.

Dale moved up to 19th place, out of the drop zone, level on points with Stanley who have only won two league games in 2019.

Rathbone blasted home his sixth goal of the season after Aaron Wilbraham had set him up in the box.

‘I thought it was a great goal and it deserved to win any game,’ said Barry-Murphy, who has been in charge of six Dale games.

‘If I am honest, Accrington were the better team in spells in the first half but we got to grips with that and the lads were much better after the break.

‘In the first half, the strikers were starved of possession but they got more possession and were more influential after the break.

‘There is still a lot of hard work to be done and we have plenty to work on but we caused them problems and showed we weren’t content with just a draw.

‘The defence was also resilient and we defended as a team.

‘I do not know our position in the league as there is still a long way to go and we have a difficult game at Portsmouth on Saturday.

This won’t influence the players’ mentality, we just have to go and do our best.

‘ Barry-Murphy praised Dale striker Ian Henderson who celebrated his 300th game as a Rochdale player – only the sixth player to do that in club’s history.

The manager said: ‘He is an inspiration, he puts his body on the line every game and the lads look up to him.

‘ Stanley manager John Coleman had already called the game the biggest in his life his side battle against going straight back down to League Two.

‘It means Saturday is now the biggest game in my life against Walsall,’ he said.

‘Even the most ardent Rochdale fan would say we were the better team but you have to take your chances.

‘It was a great piece of skill and a good finish for their goal but we had our chances and their keeper made a couple of good saves.

‘There will be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season and nothing was decided tonight but they have closed the gap on us.

They are still behind us and if we keep playing like that we will get the points we need.

‘It was a classic smash and grab and I can’t fault the effort of the players.

You can only give your best but luck deserted us as it has all season.

‘Tonight was important and the players knew this, we have got to score when we are on top.

‘I have been in this game long enough that, as the clock is ticking, I knew we could fall for a sucker punch and we did.’