5th Dec, 2016

Tony Mowbray refusing to make excuses after Rochdale defeat

Steve Carpenter 7th Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

TONY Mowbray insists the Sky Blues will tackle their recent slump head on after falling to a sixth defeat in eight League One matches.

A narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Barnsley on Saturday saw the Sky Blues drop outside the top six and they sit three points behind sixth-placed Barnsley ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Shrewsbury.

The home side had chances to take the lead with Joe Cole, James Maddison and Adam Armstrong all forcing an inspired Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis into a string of fine saves.

But Ian Henderson’s 89th minute penalty, after he was brought down inside the area by John Fleck, proved to be the difference between the two sides.

“The nature of the defeat is frustrating for us, but it wasn’t to be unfortunately, “said Mowbray.

“The boy has gone and nicked the ball and Fleck has put his foot there and he’s gone over.

“You have to take those on the chin as its not an obvious penalty to the point where he’s taking him on, and skips pass the challenge, and he goes over a leg, its just one of those.

“We didn’t create enough opportunities over the 90 minutes. Armstrong had a couple of chances but the keeper made a couple of good saves.

“It’s a disappointing day. You can’t disguise that it. It’s no good hiding the facts. Its no good making excuses.

“We are pretty low at the moment, but we have to keep going and see what the next game brings.”

After more mid-week disappointment at Oakwell on Tuesday evening, Mowbray made three changes for Saturday’s clash with Maddison, Cole and Ruben Lameiras all being recalled.

Cole forced Lillis into a smart low save after being picked out inside the area by a clever through ball from Lameiras before Maddison produced another moment of brilliance to make space for a shot.

The 19-year-old nutmegged Jamie Allen and beat another man on the edge of the box before unleashing a low left-footed shot at goal which Lillis beat away.

And the Rochdale goalkeeper made it a superb hat-trick of saves after getting a strong hand to Armstrong’s long range volley.

The visitors raised their game after the break with Jim McNulty testing Reice Charles-Cook and Niall Canavan saw a header cleared off the line by his own player.

Armstrong looked to have a legitimate goal ruled out for an offside infringement eight minutes from time but it was Rochdale who nicked all three points when Henderson was brought down by Fleck and sent Charles-Cook the wrong way from the resultant spot kick.