STEELY determination which runs all the way through his squad will serve Oldham well in the Championship, said Scott Naylor after Roughyeds kept hold of the Law Cup with a 29-12 win at soggy Spotland.
Naylor’s men are making a habit of winning at the Rochdale venue where the Oldham boss has a 100 per cent record as man in charge of Roughyeds. This was his fourth win in four visits — two in the Law Cup, two in the league — in the last three seasons.
It completed a pre-season programme in which Naylor’s men lost 16-8 at Keighley, romped to a 22-0 triumph at Barrow and then saw off derby rivals Rochdale in their own backyard to add more silverware to the two trophies they collected last season.
They know that tougher challenges lie ahead, hence the Oldham boss’s focus on a second half in which Hornets hit back strongly after looking dead and buried at half-time when they trailed 22-6.
“Our first-half performance won us the game,” he said. “It was good to lift the Law Cup again, but we crawled home on what we did in the first 40 and we can learn a very important lesson from that.
“There are reasons and mitigating factors for how we fell away a bit. In the wet conditions there were a lot of mistakes and it became a stop-start affair. On top of that I made a lot of changes to
give the whole squad plenty of game time. That disrupted things a bit.
“We gave some of the lads long minutes and we were rewarded with some really good individual performances.
“Even so, we didn’t do as well as we should have done in controlling the second half on our big lead.
“We gave Rochdale too much ball and too much field position, which put us under a lot of pressure and resulted in us spending far too long defending on our goal line.
“We did it superbly, as we did at Barrow, and that’s a big positive to come out of this Law Cup game.
“The determination not to get beaten runs right through the squad and that’s a great quality to have in any group of players.
“It manifests itself when we have our backs to the wall on our goal line. Long may that continue. But in this game I would have preferred us to have had more good field position in the second half and to have spent less time defending in our own 20.
“When we did get close to the Rochdale line we came away with points, but I would have preferred us to spend a lot more time in their half and a lot less in ours.
“As ever, there are things to work on, but I’ve got to be happy with back-to-back wins at Barrow and Rochdale.”