Doyle returns with a bang for victorious Athletic

Date published: 04 March 2018

by Ryan Booth

Richie Wellens was delighted with his side’s performance as Athletic earned a crucial 2-0 away League One victory over high-flying Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park.

Second-half strikes from debutant Patrick McEleney and returning striker Eoin Doyle secured a valuable three points as Latics aim to avoid relegation to the fourth tier.

“There’s a real positive feeling in the dressing room, it fills us with belief now we’re on a good run,” said Wellens.

“I think the biggest positive today was everybody worked as a team.”

Wellens stressed that it was vital for his side to start the game quickly if Athletic were to get a foothold in the contest.

He added: “I felt it was important that we didn’t go behind early against these [Scunthorpe], they start quick and they’re powerful, if you look at the back four every single one of them is six-foot-two plus.

“I thought if we were clever in and around them then we could create chances.

“It was important the starting eleven gave us a real good basis to work from.”

Athletic are now two points above the drop zone, and Wellens insists he feels positive regarding the options he now has at his disposal.

“Obviously now, I look around at my bench at real positive players,” said Wellens.

“You’ve got Patrick McEleney scoring and [Eoin] Doyle scoring, Aaron Holloway was outstanding when he came on, then you’ve got Ryan McLaughlin.

“Even Tope [Obadeyi] and Gevaro [Nepomuceno] who are not in the squad, if you look at things now, they’re looking a lot healthier than they were in and around Christmas time.”

Despite the result, Wellens admitted he wasn’t satisfied with his team’s first-half display.

Wellens continued: “I was frustrated in the first half that we didn’t penetrate them enough, we didn’t get shots off.”.

“In the first-half we looked a bit leggy, we haven’t trained or played properly for a number of weeks.

“We wanted to play five-a-side football, we’ve literally trained on a five-a-side astroturf for the last week.

“We wanted to play in front of people, nut run or sprint past people which opens up gaps.

“I thought once we got the first fifteen or twenty minutes out of the way we improved and second-half I thought every time we attacked we created some really good opportunities.”

“The first goal was a bit fortunate, but in terms of all of the performance I felt we deserved the win.

“I’m shouting on to Jack [Byrne] to take the strike, with someone of Jack’s ability and technique, if you take that shot anything can happen.

“The keeper can make a mistake or as it happens I think it came off his [McEleney’s] back, it just asks questions of people.”

Athletic return to action on Saturday with a mouth-watering derby trip to Bury.