|Rochdale 2 v 1 Accrington Stanley|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 12th October 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Dale 2-1 Accrington Stanley
Saturday, 12th Oct 2019 21:41 by AtThePeake
Dale ended their wait for a first home league win of the 2019/2020 campaign on Saturday as they sunk John Coleman's Accrington side thanks to a brace from skipper Ian Henderson.
Saturdays are so much easier after a win aren't they?
Having failed to pick up a win in their first five home league matches of the season, Dale finally broke the hoodoo on Saturday afternoon as two goals from Ian Henderson handed them all three points against Accrington Stanley.
Goals from the Dale skipper either side of half-time gave Dale a comfortable lead, but a stunning effort from Stanley's Joe Pritchard gave the hosts work to do in seeing out the win, thanks in no small part to some fine work from goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
It's always slightly amusing to see what histronics the 'Stanley Ultras' have dreamed up since their last visit to Spotland and after marching down Ings Lane with flares aplenty, the visiting supporters then waved red flags and held aloft banners proclaiming the divine nature of their manager John Coleman.
(Any Dale fan that remembers his brief spell in charge in 2012/2013 will undoubtedly see the man in a rather different light.)
Such displays of fandom can look awe-inspiring on a 10,000 strong terrace of Borussia Dortmund supporters ahead of a Champions League tie, but sadly don't have quite the same effect when produced by 500 Accrington fans in the Willbutts Lane.
On the pitch, Dale started the brighter of the two sides, with Ollie Rathbone dragging a shot from outside the box just wide of the mark and some flowing passing moves putting pressure on the Accrington defence.
Slowly but surely however, the visitors started to take control of the game, with Jordan Clark looking dangerous on the right side, whipping in some dangerous crosses and long-range strikes.
By the time Dale took the lead on 38 minutes, it would have been fair to say it came against the run of play, which is ironic, as if you listen to certain sources then every goal every scored against us is usually #ATROP.
The opener came from another driving run out of the midfield from Rathbone, whose tame effort from outside the box was spilled by Stanley keeper Dimitar Evtimov and slammed in on the rebound by a lurking Hendo.
The skipper nearly made it two just moments later as he latched onto a fine through ball from Callum Camps, only to get his angles wrong on an attempted dinked finish.
It didn't take long after the break for Hendo to double the lead though. Collecting a loose, bouncing ball and seeing Evtimov off his line, the 34 year old pulled off a stunning lob over the misplaced Bulgarian to increase the Dale lead.
Clearly Brian Barry-Murphy is having issues with his side keeping leads this season though and we've been ahead to both Lincoln and Doncaster only to concede late equalisers and we were left wondering if the same was about to happen again when Stanley pulled a goal back just moments later - and what a goal it was.
Having some space for himself on the left side, midfielder Joe Pritchard hit a wonderful strike from all of 30 yards that dipped and swerved beyond Sanchez in the Dale goal. What a way to open your professional account.
From here, Dale's tendency to drop deeper and deeper in order to try and protect a lead became obvious and in the final 30 minutes, they really started to invite pressure on from the visitors.
The only real chance the hosts made during this time came from a mis-hit Camps corner that saw Matt Done's strike blocked away.
That effort aside, the final stages of the game belonged to Stanley as they searched for the equaliser and Dale had Robert Sanchez to thank for the points in the end as he made stunning saves from both Clark and Colby Bishop, the latter a wonderful one-handed tip over the bar in the final minute of normal time.
Some traits of John Coleman's Dale side were on show within the Accy ranks, with plenty of 'discussions' between players and referee and plenty of players throwing themselves to the ground at the slightest of touches, with Jerome Opoku even being booked for a silly dive following some neat footwork to make some space on the edge of the box.
A few hairy moments in stoppage time were negotiated and Dale held on for a hard-fought first home win of the season in League One to ensure that former boss Coleman was handed a rather unhappy 57th birthday.
Next stop... Bolton Wanderers and another, rather more celebrated, former manager.
Our Player Ratings:
Robert Sanchez: 9. Produced some vital saves that you feel the likes of Josh Lillis probably wouldn't have got to - although you also felt less certain that Lillis was about to pass the ball straight to one of their centre-forwards every time the ball went back to him.
Jimmy Keohane: 6. Did little wrong without offering much on the ball. Have to applaud the way he has stepped up to do a solid job in unfamiliar positions since joining last season.
Eoghan O'Connell: 9. He makes a huge, huge difference to this team and was perhaps rightly awarded MOTM by the sponsors, although it did seem harsh to take it away from Henderson.
Paul McShane: 7. A solid, commanding display at centre-back from the debutant. Exactly what we signed him for.
Matt Done: 6. Had his moments but at times struggled to deal with the threatening Clark. I wonder if we've seen the best of him now.
MJ Williams: 6. Kept things ticking over but does seem to have regressed to the slower version we saw of him at times last season. Needs to get that sharpness back that made him one of our better players at the start of this campaign.
Jimmy Ryan: 4. It's just not working is it? There was even 3/4 opportunities to break where he had acres of space in the centre of the pitch and players chose not to pass to him.
Ian Henderson: 9. Marry me Hendo.
Aaron Wilbraham: 5. Not a winger. Not really sure why we gave him another year to be honest. To be fair, we didn't really play to his strengths today, but I'm not sure what he offers this team, particularly playing in a wider position.
Fabio Tavares: 6
Calvin Andrew: N/A
Aaron Morley: N/A
Sponsors' MOTM: Eoghan O'Connell
Photo: Action Images
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