Paul Tisdale disappointed with first outing as Bristol Rovers boss

Milton Keynes Dons v Macclesfield Town – Sky Bet League Two – Stadium MK
Milton Keynes Dons v Macclesfield Town – Sky Bet League Two – Stadium MK (PA Archive)
18:00pm, Sat 21 Nov 2020
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Paul Tisdale was left disappointed after his first game as Bristol Rovers manager ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat at West Country neighbours Swindon

Brett Pitman’s header 15 minutes from time was enough to earn Tisdale’s opposite number John Sheridan his first win as Robins boss.

Tisdale said: “It was a scrappy game, it wasn’t the best game I’ve watched.

“As it went on, I would’ve been happy with a point and I’m disappointed that we’ve conceded a goal from a set-piece.

“It’s disappointing we conceded that goal because the second half was even-stevens.”

Tisdale only took over at the Memorial Stadium on the eve of the game and admits his first outing in the dugout gave him plenty to ponder.

“It’s not what we wanted today, but it’s my first look at them and I’m looking forward to Tuesday,” he added.

“I’ve got some direction I want to give the players, but when the games come thick and fast… I’ve got to do it in small steps.

“They were robust and put themselves about, I’m disappointed for everyone.”

Chances were at a premium on a largely cagey afternoon at the County Ground.

Swindon midfielder Jack Payne dragged a hat-trick of shots wide of the post in the first half, while Brandon Hanlan and Sam Nicholson came close for Rovers.

The game looked to be heading for a stalemate until veteran Pitman expertly guided in Matt Smith’s whipped free-kick.

Rovers stepped up their intensity after finding themselves a goal down.

Chelsea loanee Luke McCormick had a powerful half-volley brilliantly saved by Matej Kovar low to his right and, seconds later, Nicholson guided a header off the far post and wide.

Swindon almost got a second in the last five minutes, but Hallam Hope could only slice his shot high and wide after Pitman’s knock down.

Swindon first-team coach Tommy Wright said: “The clean sheet is what we needed and it gives the whole team confidence.

“It wasn’t the best quality of game, both teams not in great form, so a clean sheet and three points is vital for us today.

“The players always have to keep their discipline because it could be a one-goal game. We’re really pleased with the result, but we can play better.

“We’ve been disappointed with the quality of the set-plays, but one decent delivery and Brett does what Brett does well to get the winning goal.

“It didn’t feel like a derby without the fans.”

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