Curle hails Magpies spirit

PA Sport
Keith Curle
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Keith Curle

Notts County boss Keith Curle hailed his players after they collected a third successive 1-0 win over Rochdale at Spotland.

Hamza Bencherif headed the only goal on the stroke of half-time to put the Magpies level on points with sixth-placed Stevenage in the race for a play-off place.

Curle said: "I'm very proud of the players because there have been a lot of changes. In every game we've played there has been four or five changes but the desire to do well and play with a smile on their face has been there and the understanding of their role in the team has been apparent."

He added: "This is not an easy place to come, for despite Rochdale's league position they move the ball around well and play football in the right way and it's all credit to the players that they come here and win. The togetherness in our dressing room is amazing."

The only blot on the copybook for County was the 90th minute dismissal of striker Lee Hughes. The substitute was shown a straight red card after a collision with Rochdale goalkeeper Peter Kurucz, though Curle felt there may be grounds for an appeal.

"I asked the fourth official what the referee had sent Lee off for and in the ref's mind was a two-footed lunge at the goalkeeper," he said.

"If he wants to put that in his report I don't mind because the video evidence we have suggests he didn't go in with two feet, he went in with one and the other foot is on the ground. Lee was looking at the ball and any centre-forward worth their salt has got to go for the ball in those situations."

The visitors hit a post after the break when Alan Judge nipped between two defenders and shot beyond Kurucz. But while the second goal never arrived, the Magpies were rarely threatened by their shot-shy hosts.

"You have to give credit to Notts County because they have picked up three points but I felt we more or less beat ourselves," said Rochdale manager John Coleman.

"Notts County came here for a draw and if they got a win they were going to be made up and they've got that. But we should have had a lot more about us to break them down. They put a lot of men behind the ball but we just didn't have any quality about us on the night."

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