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Return to Stanley was emotional, says former boss
JOHN Coleman has admitted his return to Accrington Stanley on Saturday was ‘emotional’ after guiding Rochdale to a 3-2 win at the Crown Ground.
Coleman and assistant Jimmy Bell were making their first return to Stanley since quitting the club for Rochdale in January, following 12-and-a-half successful years in charge of the Reds.
Victory saw their new club leapfrog Stanley in the League Two table, as Accrington dropped to ninth, and Coleman admitted it was a special day to return to the ground where he had such fond memories.
“It was quite emotional actually,” said the Dale boss, who turns 50 on Friday.
“When I went to acknowledge the Accrington fans at the end, it was emotional.
“I had a lump in my throat because you can’t just wipe away the years I had here.
“I’ve had some fantastic times here and these people were like my family.
“It’s like being estranged and it still feels awkward when I watch them on TV because it feels like I should have been at that game.
“But I’ve got a job to do at Rochdale and I’m loving it.”
And Coleman acknowledged that the visitors did not necessarily deserve victory, with Jason Kennedy grabbing a late winner after Stanley had come from 2-0 down to level at 2-2.
“Accrington were fantastic and certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game,” he said.
“They pressed us back, they passed it well, they made chances, they were full of energy.
“They were very unlucky not to get at least something out of the game – one, possibly three points.”
Stanley, in contrast, were left disappointing after feeling they performed well enough to get a result in a match that had been much anticipated.
“We should have won it comfortably,” said assistant manager Leam Richardson.
“To be fair you can’t concede three goals and expect to win most games, although I thought we played very good football at times.
“I thought a lot of our play was very good and positive.
“Conceding three goals, the timing of them wasn’t great, but once we got back into the game there should only have been one winner.
“Rochdale will go off the field wondering how they won the game.
“But fair credit, they won in the end so they take the three points and we move on.
“It was a fantastic game for the neutrals. It had an extra special feel with John and Jimmy returning.
“It was a friendly rivalry on the touchline, we’ve been with them a lot of years and it was great to see the pair of them get a good reception.
“The result hurts but we will dust ourselves down and move on.”