Rochdale manager Robbie Stockdale praised his players for ending a disappointing season on a high with a 2-0 victory at Newport.
A first-half strike from Matty Done and a second in stoppage time by substitute Abraham Odoh sealed the three points for the visitors in south Wales and lifted them to 18th in the final Sky Bet League Two standings.
“I thought we deserved it,” said Stockdale. “We played well and it’s credit to the players for performing like that in the last game of the season, away at a very difficult place.
“I’m really pleased that we could send the supporters home happy.”
But Stockdale, who took charge at Spotland last summer following the club’s relegation from League One, is not getting too carried away as he looks ahead to next season.
“There’s going to be a big turnover of players again – it’s the nature of where we are in the division – so let’s not look too far ahead in terms of building momentum, because we haven’t been good enough lots of times this year,” he added.
“But we were very close to not having a football club at one point (last summer) and we’ve survived that. Hopefully we can build on that and move forward.”
For Newport it was a miserable conclusion to what had been a highly promising season.
James Rowberry’s men were third in mid-March and dreaming of automatic promotion but a dismal run of results saw them fall out of the picture altogether.
This was a fifth successive home defeat for County – the first time that has happened in the Football League since 1988 – and it meant they finished the campaign in 11th place.
Scot Bennett saw a fierce drive well blocked before the break and Rob Street and Dom Telford both had chances to level in the second half, but the hosts could not force their way back into the game after Done’s 16th-minute opener.
“It felt like one of those days,” said Rowberry. “The final delivery into the box wasn’t quite there, the final tackle in the final third wasn’t there at times.
“We’ve got to be better in both 18-yard boxes and we will be. We’ll get there, we’ll get a pre-season under us, and we’ll recruit well. We’ll move on from it and try to do what we can do. I’m looking forward to next season.
“We’ve all got to learn as a group what we need to do to move this club forward.
“We’ll get better and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” added Rowberry, who was linked with the QPR job last week. “It’s a big job, which I’m extremely excited for. That’s why I came to the club – for that challenge.”
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