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Paul Warne praises sorry Stockport after his Rotherham side edge FA Cup victory

Rotherham United v Stockport County – Emirates FA Cup – Second Round – AESSEAL New York Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Marper)

Rotherham manager Paul Warne admitted the better side lost as his League One outfit edged past National League visitors Stockport 1-0 to reach the third round of the FA Cup.

Michael Smith’s 43rd-minute winner extended the Millers’ club record unbeaten run to an 18th game in all competitions but Warne paid tribute to their opponents and the raucous 2,300 visiting fans afterwards.

He said: “We’ve got through to the next round, but they were a bit better than us and looked a bit more up for it.

“We could have been better and I wasn’t over the moon with the performance but I’ve got to praise the opposition as well.

“They asked us questions and, even though our keeper didn’t have a lot of saves to make, they had a lot of pressure and put a lot of set-pieces into our box.

“We got the goal late in the first half but I wasn’t best pleased at half-time and we needed a second to settle us.

“We didn’t get one and – in the end – it was a game where we used all five of our subs, which wasn’t ideal, but we were hanging on in the last 10 minutes.

“Their fans were also amazing. They were so noisy and we couldn’t get instructions to the lads.

“It was a really good cup game and I thoroughly enjoyed it for the contribution of our fans and their fans.

“I didn’t enjoy our performance as much but great teams find a way to win even when they’re not great and we did that to get ourselves in the hat, which is a good thing.”

Stockport boss Dave Challinor agreed that his players deserved something from the tie, but added that he was also disappointed by the manner in which the only goal of the night was conceded on the stroke of half-time.

He said: “I thought we deserved something from the game but it also showed the fine margins when you come up against teams from a higher level because I’m sure, when the lads watch the game back, they will be disappointed with the goal that cost us the game.

“We played too many sloppy passes and gave the ball away 25 yards from goal then, three passes later, the ball ended up in our net.

“I don’t think anybody would have noticed the two-division difference between the teams, so I’m pleased with that aspect, but I hate losing and I’m just disappointed to be out of the cup.

“I was also frustrated with the last five or 10 minutes because we gave away too many free-kicks and offsides, which allowed them to manage the game and prevented us from building any momentum during those final stages.”

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