Rochdale caretaker manager Brian Barry-Murphy paid tribute to veteran striker Aaron Wilbraham after he scored twice in his side’s 3-1 victory at home to Scunthorpe.
Kgosi Ntlhe was also on the scoresheet to cancel out Jordan Hallam’s effort for Scunthorpe on his League debut.
Wilbraham, 39, continues to score goals, 21 years after his first professional goal, and Barry-Murphy was full of praise.
“I’m delighted for Aaron. His training has been exceptional as he hasn’t had the moments in the team he may have felt he deserved,” said Barry-Murphy.
“It’s fitting that he scored, and he shows other members of the squad how to behave when they aren’t involved. He played well, as did the rest of the team.
“It was a hard game initially as Scunthorpe are a good team who put us under pressure, but the lads were exceptional and showed immense courage to keep going for the full match.
“We defended well, just like they have done in the last few games, and they put their imprint on the game in the second half and played really well in spells.
“The unbeaten run is rewarding, but we haven’t been fixated on that or on points. We’re just trying to convince the players that playing football this way can be successful.”
Wilbraham’s two goals lifted Rochdale to 22nd place in League One, one point adrift of safety.
Scunthorpe are in 18th position, two points above the relegation zone, and manager Stuart McCall was disappointed to come up short.
“It’s hugely frustrating to lose as we missed some great opportunities. We had some good chances to go ahead but then their first goal was an individual error from us,” said McCall.
“We got straight back in it through Jordan Hallam, who was terrific on his League debut, but in the second half we didn’t get started. Rochdale dug in and ended up worthy winners.
“In the first 25 minutes we looked a really good side, but we shouldn’t be playing with fear. We’ve not been ahead in a game for a long time, especially away from home where we’ve been on a poor run.
“It’s going to be a long week and it’s about your character as individuals, coaches and players. We’ve had difficult spells this season where we’ve bounced back, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got enough points to be in the league next season.”