Bristol Rovers boss John Ward demands quick response from players after Chesterfield defeat
John Ward will demand a quick response from his players after watching Bristol Rovers’ bid to make further progress up the League Two table temporarily halted at Chesterfield this afternoon.
The Rovers boss expressed disappointment at a performance for the first time since taking charge in December after watching second-half goals from Jay O’Shea and Amand Gnanduillet consign his side to a 2-0 defeat.
Rovers dropped down to 17th place in League Two at the final whistle – but are still six points clear of the drop zone ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Port Vale at the Memorial Stadium.
When asked whether he was disappointed with the display at the Proact Stadium, Ward replied: “I’m disappointed, but not surprised.
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"You can’t be on top of your game all the time in any walk of life and I am dealing with a lot of young players.
“These guys have done great for me, great for the football club and great for themselves since I have been here and this is probably the first time I am a bit disappointed.
“The players certainly weren’t awful all day, but we were a little dull and a bit lethargic in comparison to the way we have played in recent weeks. We were off our game and certainly didn’t do ourselves justice.
He added:“I’ve always professed that I want attitude, effort and ability from the players in that order, but we slipped off the first two a little bit and then inevitably the third won’t follow.
“The big thing for me now is how the young players will react. The likes of Steve Mildenhall, Mark McChrystal and Danny Woodards have been around the block, but it will be interesting for me to see how the younger ones respond.”
The game, however, could have panned out quite differently had striker Eliot Richards not seen his goal-bound effort from distance palmed on to the post by Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee in the 8th minute at a time when Rovers were in the ascendency.
“It was a great save,” said Ward. “I thought it was in when it left Eliot’s boot, so fair play to Tommy for pulling off what was a fantastic save.
“I just felt we missed an opportunity (to win the game) in that earlier period during the first-half because Chesterfield didn’t have their first chance until something like the 31st minute.
“If we could have raised our game in that period we may have been able to capitalise on some of the nervous tension you could sense in their supporters.
“Once Chesterfield got their first goal, however, their tails were up and you could see they were a very good side. It gave them a lot of confidence and we found it difficult to compete with them throughout the second-half. I have no complaints about the result and I think the better team has won on the day.”
Joe Anyinsah, meanwhile, failed to return after half-time due to an on-going hamstring problem and is doubtful to be available for Tuesday night’s game.