Ian Dawes witnessed ‘signs of improvement’ from players on the pitch as Tranmere Rovers booked their place in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Building on a midweek win over Harrogate Town, the Whites defeated Accrington Stanley 2-1 at Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon courtesy of goals from Corey Blackett-Taylor and Peter Clarke.
Delivering his verdict on proceedings, Dawes said: “On the whole, I thought the team deserved the win. The way we applied ourselves on the pitch, both with and without the ball, was outstanding. Anyone who watched the game would have been entertained and also understood that we deserved the win.
“We know what to expect when you’re playing an Accrington side: they’re always going to be 100 per cent and well-organised. We looked at the team and just knew it was going to be crosses into the box and set-plays to deal with. If you look at the size of our side compared to theirs, I thought we defended excellently.
“It was an important win, to show everybody from the outside, and even in the changing room, that Tuesday wasn’t just a one-off- it’s a platform to build from. Like I said after Tuesday, it wasn’t perfect by any stretch and we need to improve. There were more signs of improvement today and we’ve got to continue that work.”
Tranmere captured the lead in the 13th minute of the match, with Blackett-Taylor gliding past a number of bodies before firing a well-struck shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Operating in an advanced role alongside James Vaughan, the 22-year-old winger reaped the rewards of featuring further up the field to find his first goal of the campaign.
“Regarding Corey, we know what he’s capable of doing. He was great today; he's looking sharp in every game and took his goal brilliantly. I’m made up for him,” stated Dawes.
“We were just trying to get him into a position where we could utilise his strengths. He is better when he is higher up the pitch and the idea is to get him higher up and in contact with James Vaughan. Over the last couple of games, it has worked.”
The Whites were pegged back when Colby Bishop equalised for the visitors, though Peter Clarke popped up with his second goal of the season to secure progression into the next round of the competition.
The towering defender was set-up by Liam Feeney’s excellent delivery into the penalty area as the 33-year-old registered yet another assist to add to his growing collection.
“The players that are attacking the ball for corners and crosses know they can commit when Feeney is crossing,” said Dawes. “They know that, more often than not, the quality is going to be there. When you’ve got that belief that the ball is going to be in the right area, you can attack it properly. Credit to Feeney for the delivery, but Clarke was outstanding again.”