Bristol Rovers boss John Ward remains upbeat following reverse at the hands of Rotherham United
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward remains upbeat, despite watching his side's recent six-game unbeaten run come to an end at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.
Two quick-fire second-half goals within three minutes of each other from Kayode Odejayi and Lee Frecklington offered promotion-chasing Rotherham United what turned out to be an unassailable lead to consign Rovers to their first defeat since Gillingham won 2-0 at the Memorial Stadium on January 5.
Joe Anyinsah managed to halve the deficit with an 80th minute strike that eventually served as no more than a consolation goal and Ward said: "We expected a really different game from Rotherham United and we got exactly that. Their celebrations at the end suggested to me that they were delighted to get three points for what was a really difficult game for them, too
"I'm disappointed at the way we conceded the goals, particularly at how quickly we let in the second after the first. If we'd have kept them down to one for a little bit longer it would have given us a better chance to get something from the game.
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"There are still plenty of positives to take into the next game at Morecambe on Saturday. The commitment of the team is unquestionable. Attitude and effort is always first and foremost with this group and then the ability naturally comes through after that.
"I can't fault the effort of my team or the supporters because together we've had a go. We were very positive and I think that is very important for us here at Bristol Rovers."
Rovers, meanwhile, hosted their biggest crowd of the season with 8,646 coming through the turnstiles and Ward added: "The supporters were great again.
"When we conceded the first goal a really audible roar went up around the ground to try and help the players get straight back into the game.
"That we couldn't quite make it for them was a shame. I think they know that every player is wearing their heart on their sleeve. We have the team representing the club in the right manner and the supporters have responded to that.
"We lost the game, but the supporters applauded the players off and will have been pleased with the effort they have seen them put in."
Ward, meanwhile, is sweating over the fitness of Fabian Broghammer, Ryan Brunt and David Clarkson ahead of Saturday's trip to the Globe Arena.
Broghammer was withdrawn with a hamstring complaint in the first-half, Brunt failed to appear after the break because of a sore knee, while Clarkson limped away from the ground after taking another knock on a troublesome ankle.
"There isn't much time for them to recover," Ward said. "We'll know more in the next 48 hours."