Nights like these make it all worthwhile, says Bristol Rovers boss John Ward
Bristol Rovers manager John Ward watched his players grab a thrilling stoppage-time victory over Barnet at the Memorial Stadium on Friday night and then said: "I'm glad I didn't pack it all in."
Recently-arrived striker Ryan Blunt plundered his first goal for the club in the 94th minute to hand Rovers a 2-1 victory, which lifts Ward's rejuvenated side out of the relegation zone for the first time in over two months.
Fabian Broghammer had opened the scoring with a 74th minute strike before Barnet striker Harry Crawford looked to have earned a share of the spoils in the 90th-minute prior to Brunt's last-gasp intervention.
A delighted Ward, who considered the possibility of bringing an end to a managerial career that has spanned two decades when he was relieved of his duties at Colchester United earlier this season, said: "I am a very happy man tonight.
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"These players are working very hard together and have taken on board what we have tried to do with them and they now have their rewards in terms of winning games.
"We have had three victories on the trot and we should enjoy it as these are the sorts of results we have been working so hard to try and achieve.
"When I left my last club I was going to pack all this in, but it is such a fantastic feeling when as a manager in a key game with a big crowd you are able to find a winner. I haven't felt like that for ages.
He said: "There aren't many clubs that would have made me reconsider where I was at when I left Colchester, but I was here before and had had a terrific time.
"When I got asked if I would come back and help out I had to do it. My dear friend (the late) Ron Craig (former chairman and long-time director) would never have forgiven me if I hadn't."
When asked what had changed inside the camp since his arrival to spark a run of four victories from his six games in charge, Ward replied: "I can't answer that because I wasn't here before.
"I looked at it when I came in and the goal difference was minus 22 and I said we have to tighten up the base, you cannot have a goal difference that bad.
"We have worked hard at our defending, and I think because of that the front players have blossomed and started to create and take more chances."
Rovers climbed four places to 19th ahead of a seven day period during which they will play games away at promotion-chasers Cheltenham Town and Oxford United.
Ward added: "What we need to do is to work even harder to make sure we stay out of that relegation zone.
"We'll enjoy this result, but our feet will be back on the floor very quickly because we have two very difficult games to come before the end of next week.
"There is a good mood about the place at the moment, however, and if we can maintain that we give ourselves a great chance going into any game."
The club, meanwhile, enjoyed their biggest crowd of the season with over 8,500 supporters packing the Memorial Stadium and Ward said: "The atmosphere was fantastic.
"To get over 8,00 0 in is a fantastic effort by those supporters and I hope we have persuaded them that it is worth coming back again and again."