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Neil Wood tells Salford not to ‘take foot off the gas’ after win over Rochdale

Neil Wood saw his Salford side beat Rochdale (Martin Rickett/PA).
Neil Wood saw his Salford side beat Rochdale (Martin Rickett/PA).

Neil Wood urged his Salford side to “keep pushing” after they maintained their promotion push with a 2-1 win at home to local rivals Rochdale at the Peninsula Stadium.

Goals from Matt Smith and Conor McAleny earned Salford a fourth consecutive League Two home win for the first time in their history.

Dale were given a lifeline in the closing stages when Scott Quigley converted from the spot after Abraham Odoh was brought down, but the hosts saw out victory to move to within three points of the automatic promotion places.

“That was a very big three points. It was a tough game, it was always going to be tough against Rochdale who are fighting at the bottom of the league and under pressure,” said Wood.

“But we’ve also got pressure on us as we want to get into a good position in the play-offs and hopefully in the automatic places.

“We were probably a little bit too wasteful in the first half but overall, though it wasn’t our best performance, it’s good to win when you’re not at your best.

“This is probably the first time this season that we feel results have gone for us in terms of the league position. There’s a long way to go and we’re not thinking we’ve made it.

“We just need to be consistent and I’m really pleased we’ve addressed our home form and we need to keep pushing – we can’t afford to take our foot off the gas.

“We’ve got some real talent in this squad and it’s up to me and my staff to push them all the way.”

Salford enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and took the lead after 11 minutes when Smith converted an Elliot Watt cross from the left hand side.

They could have extended their advantage before half-time, with Ethan Galbriath coming close, while Rochdale’s only chance came courtesy of an Ian Henderson header.

Dale grew in confidence after the break and had a great chance to level when Quigley’s rasping effort was spectacularly turned over the top by Alex Cairns in the Salford goal.

But any hopes the visitors had of getting anything from the game were dashed in the 63rd minute when McAleny fired home his seventh goal in as many games.

The defeat was a fourth in a row for basement boys Dale, who are now five points from safety.

Boss Jim Bentley said: “I feel like I’m saying the same things every week, that we’re nearly there, but luck deserts you when we’re in the position we are in.

“We kept plugging away, we kept working hard, after we scored we had another shout for a penalty, but the game just fizzled out.

“We could have got something out of the game today, but ultimately in those key moments we didn’t defend well enough and that’s why we lost the game.

“Every game now is massive with the position we’re in, we’ve been in every game and easily could have got something, but you can’t feel sorry for yourselves.

“We’ve tried to freshen the squad as much as we can and that fresh blood has given us an uplift and we need to keep going, keep working hard and embrace every game like it’s a cup final.”