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Report: Dale 6 Chester 1
Report: Dale 6 Chester 1
Tuesday, 21st Oct 2008 23:34

Different kit, same striker, same outcome. Dale won 6-1 and we even scored the one for them. It doesn't get much more one sided than this. Report online.

This wasn't so much one sided, but rather cruel and sadistic. Chester were bullied, such was the gulf between the two sides, and aside from a slight wobble at the start of the second half, Dale were always likely to score a hatful tonight.

The game had possibly the liveliest start to any Dale game this season, as both teams seemed to go for it. Despite many fans from both sides opting to remain at home, ignoring the bad weather and to stick with the game on television, the players from both sides were certainly up for it, and it went end to end from pretty much the first whistle, with Dale having to defend a very lively corner in the opening seconds.

But Dale soon exerted their superiority over the Cestrian opponents, and after going close on a couple of occasions, we then had the Christopher Dagnall entry for Goal of the Season.

From some distance, he grabbed the ball, took a couple of steps before letting fire. Who says we're not shooting early enough? Danby had no chance whatsoever as the shot was about as perfect as you'll get. 1-0 Dale, and Dagnall's apparent lack of form remedied in one swoop.

On thirty minutes, Chester were reduced to ten men. The sending off was to prove both controversial and crucial. It was a sending off that wasn't helped by the conditions, but it was fully understandable why it was given. Chester's Rule went flying in on Joe Thompson right in front of the Dale dugout, prompting Dave Flitcroft to do a Sammy McIlroy impression. The referee was in doubt whatsoever, and produced the red card straight away.

The Chester bench was far from happy, and at one point Chester manager Simon Davies went racing down the touchline to complain about it. Shame he never managed to run down that touchline at such speed when he used to play for us. And did you know he used to play for Manchester United in the Champions League?

But with the extra man, we made the advantage tell with Dagnall doubling our lead within seconds. Thompson threaded the ball through to him, with Dagnall turning and scoring with ease.

With seconds left in the first half, Ellison showed again that he's basically going through the motions at Chester. Despite clearly carrying an ankle injury, he produced a moment of brilliance out of nothing to nearly catch Sam Russell out with a curling effort. He's too good for a side like Chester and you'd have to assume that the only reason he remains with Chester is financial reasons. He'd be a prized asset at any side at this level, and he knows with Chester's off the field stuff, he'll never be achieving anything there.

The second half saw Dale come out with a certain amount of arrogance. In our heads, the game was won, and we started playing a little bit of fancy stuff with one or two of the players trying to ensure they scored a fancier goal than Rundle's first. So of course, it was always going to be Chester who scored the next goal.

Well they didn't really. Because McArdle did. A cross came over from the left hand touchline, and untroubled we showed that the best way of scoring is getting your head on the end of a first time cross. So he did.

That goal brought an air of doubt to proceedings. For around five minutes or so, there was a genuine feeling that the result might be in doubt. Not that the play suggested it, but with confidence perhaps not as high as it could be, there was a worry that we were in danger of blowing it.

We weren't worrying for long. Great work yet again from Joe Thompson pulled the ball back to Dagnall, who shrugged off his marker, before turning and firing past Danby to make it his third hat trick for the club. After finishing, he remained down prompting fears of an injury, but that cheeky scouse smile showed that he just fancied a bit of limelight and who can blame him.

The history books show that he's now just one of five players to have managed that feat. Just seven hat tricks behind Albert Whitehurst tho' Daggers.

And after this, it became silly season. Chester's heads dropped like a Joan of Arc tribute act, and double figures was even looking a possibility at one point.

It is no exaggeration to say that the fact we only scored three more goals in the remainder of the game flattered the visitors who had well and truly lost all sense of competition.

It was always be a tough line to decide whether we were playing magnificently or whether Chester really were as bad as they looked. But they're not getting six goals put past them every other week, so it suggests we're doing something right. 

There was a touch of both comedy and class about the next goal. Will Buckley, who seemed to avoid being tackled all night long, put in a great cross for Joe Thompson to head home. Thompson raised his arm, running towards the fans to celebrate before a casual look back to see why his team mates weren't celebrating with him. JT would have stunned to see a celebrating Lee Thorpe who got a head on it himself after Thompson's header, with that proving to the goalscoring touch.

It was a shame that it hadn't been Thompson with the goal, because this was another outstanding performance by Thompson. He's taken more than his fair share of stick over the past couple of years, but forget the old adage if they're good enough, they're old enough. If Hilly thinks they're good enough, then they're good enough, as Hill's faith in Thompson is starting to reap the rewards. One day, Hill will be given the benefit of the doubt for his decisions.

Subs were made, with Alfie coming on for the ovation receiving Dagnall and the former Stockport man was making sure that he was getting in on the act. After beautifully beating the offside trap, Le Fondre produced a poor first touch. Fortunately, his run was so good that he had enough time for a second go at it, nutmegging the hapless Danby.

It was massacre time now and we were scoring at will with Chester nothing but scared little rabbits, not so much stuck in the headlights, but rather staring down the barrel of the farmer's gun. It was that one side, I started to feel sorry for them. But not enough to feel sorry for them when we got our sixth goal.

By rights, it should have been Alfie's goal. And by the time you read this report, you've probably read in half a dozen different places that it was Alfie's second goal in the space of a minute. Alfie got on the end of another Thompson cross, but Will Buckley made sure he got on the end of it. Share the wealth!

And it could have been more. Chances came, Thompson had one cleared off the line, the post stopped Buckley finishing off, and the late sub Rundle came close. But any more would no doubt have seen Vaughan City call it a day.

Indeed with just five minutes or so to go, a handful of Chester fans decided they'd seen enough, and headed down the well worn steps towards the exits. Quite what had kept them at the game until this point is unsure. Maybe they held hopes of a dramatic comeback, snatching a point, but finally gave up the ghost at this stage. Something with five minutes to go had clearly tipped them over the edge.

But they'd already seen the worst of it, and other than Dale coming close to adding to the lead, the seventh goal never came and those departing Chester fans can rightly claim that they'd seen enough.

So six goals and the first hat trick of the season. The weather may well have been pretty awful, but the sun was shining throughout at Spotland tonight. Job done.


Photo: Action Images

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