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Dale 2 Middlesbrough 0
Saturday, 22nd Jul 2017 17:53 by Col

It was back to Spotland, and we had a deserved win to show for it as we came away as 2-0 winners against a strong Middlesbrough side.

Things are started to fall into place and the swapping of players and squads was put to the back burner today with Keith Hill putting out a potential starting XI for Pompey, but no doubt we'll have a different potential XI against Barnsley.

Dale started with: Lillis, Brown, McGahey, McNulty, Kitching, Cannon, Allen, Camps, Rathbone, Williams, Henderson.

It was a competitive game with blood on show on more than one occasion with our own Ian Henderson having to leave the field spilling claret, and a cynical reactionary kick from one 'Boro player.

We had the better of the majority of the first half, with Middlesboro having good spells at either end of it. It was good football from both sides, but we seemed to be playing with a bit more purpose than a Middlesboro side who appeared to be a week behind us in their preseason preparations.

Second half was much the same. Plenty of possession from ourselves but with the opponents looking dangerous on the break.

The breakthrough came with some fortune. A Jamie Allen cross seemed to hit the back of Ayala's head and past the former Oldham keeper Ripley into the net.

The second came courtesy of Ollie Rathbone who was magnificent all afternoon. He's matured both mentally and physically from last year, and he beat his man to bury it into the bottom left hand corner.

A good run out against a side used to be playing much higher opposition, given their last competitive game was against the Premier League winners. We know results mean nowt, but it was good positive football from Dale with a clear agenda as to how we are going to play.

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Photo: Action Images

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