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Coventry City 2 v 1 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 16th November 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Coventry 2-1 Dale
Sunday, 17th Nov 2019 14:33 by AtThePeake

Dale slipped to a fourth consecutive League One defeat despite taking the lead against Coventry City on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead at St Andrew's thanks to Ian Henderson who finished a lovely flowing move by latching onto Callum Camps raking low cross to side-foot home.

But the hosts would equalise before the break after a defensive mix-up and rather fortunate bounce allowed Jordan Shipley to score.

And Cov would wrap up the points in the second half after Liam Walsh picked up the ball in his own half and embarked on a mazy run before firing in the winner left-footed from the edge of the box.

Hollow, is the word I'd use to describe this match. The away end took on an almost ghostly feel housing less than 300 Dale fans in a part of the stand usually made for 3000+.

A hollow atmosphere in a near-empty stadium, and indeed a rather hollow attempt to stop Coventry from coming back to win after Dale had taken the lead.

Although we had chances in the game and Coventry didn't exactly control the game and put us on the back foot too much, there was a rather depressing inevitability about both of their goals and the long journey home with no points to show for it.

Coventry started the better side, Shipley heading wide from a corner early on before driving over a long-range effort.

In truth, no real clear cut chances were created by either side until the 26th minute, when a back pass to Marko Marosi was intercepted by Henderson, who dropped the ball into Aaron Wilbraham - but the 40 year old's low effort was blocked away.

Only a few moments later though Dale did have the lead, as Camps played a one-two with Aaron Wilbraham and broke down the right hand side following a flowing, passing move out of defence.

Camps' low cross travelled too far for Pyke but Henderson was on hand at the back post to side-foot home for his 120th goal in Dale colours.

Ten minutes later, Pyke had a chance to make it two, but much like at Wrexham last week, a lack of confidence seemed to stop him for driving for goal and the chance fizzled out.

It seemed that Dale were on top at this point and cruising towards the half-time whistle with the lead but on 42 minutes disaster struck.

Zain Westbrooke's clipped ball over the top caused panic in the Dale defence and after Jordan Shipley's dinked effort was saved by Robert Sanchez the ball rebounded off the retreating Eoghan O'Connell and back into the striker's path and he was able to bundle in the equaliser.

Dale almost took the lead again immediately though, with Aaron Wilbraham's near-post header from an Aaron Morley corner striking the outside of the post and bouncing out.

Neither side really managed to get a hold of the game in the early stages of the second half. Both teams enjoyed spells of possession, without really probing, but as I mentioned before given Dale's recent performances there was still a sense of inevitability about which way the next goal would go.

Amadou Bakayoko mis-hit a first time effort inside the six yard box when it seemed easier to score, then Dale had their best chance of the half, when Hendo showed great feet to cut back onto his right and fire a curling effort just wide from the edge of the box.

Coventry then started to find more space in and around the Dale box and forced Sanchez into two fine stops, one from an awkward long-range effort from Liam Walsh, the other from a Shipley strike that seemed destined for the bottom corner

The goal came on 72 minutes when Walsh latched on to a poor first touch by Camps and starting from inside his own half he produced a stunning solo run, beating Jimmy Ryan, Camps and Matt Done with quick feet before firing in from 16 yards with his left foot.

Once behind, Dale's lack of attacking options once again became obvious as Tavares and Andrew came off the bench to little effect and the 'lack of plan B' that has been a lament of supporters so far this season was again clear as Dale struggled to find a way to draw level.

Pyke's cross almost dipped in but landed on the top of the net and a couple of dangerous set pieces fizzled into nothing as Cov held on for the three points and Dale fans will have been glancing at the league table worryingly on the way home as that gap between the side and the bottom three seems to look smaller week on week.

These last few weeks have been incredibly frustrating watching Dale. This season could and felt like it should have been plenty of fun when we started the campaign with less of a threat of relegation due to Bury's demise and Bolton's points deduction, plus BBM's attractive style of play and a raft of young players getting chances to shine in the process of a progressive first full campaign under the Irishman.

Instead, unfortunately, recent comments from the board seem to have left a rather sour, pessimistic taste in the mouth and coupled with some rather flat performances on the field, right now the rest of the season is starting to feel more like a chore than the joy it really could have been.

Player Ratings

Robert Sanchez: 7 - Spanish Bob had a decent game and made some good saves - and his ball distribution was impressive. Would be higher but I can't help but feel he should have done better with the first goal.

Jimmy Keohane: 5 - Keohane is slotting in and doing a job but the reality is that he's our third best right-back at the moment and it shows.

Eoghan O'Connell: 6 - Not his best performance. Never looked particularly steady, although did play some of his usual probing passes from the back. Perhaps slightly unlucky with the bounce for the first goal.

MJ Williams: 6 - Not a centre-back. Feel like I am rinsing and repeating these player ratings from last week to be honest.

Matt Done: 5 - Nope. (Yeah okay that one was just completely copied).

Callum Camps: 8 - One of his better performances so far this season, seemed to occupy some deeper positions than he has been doing in home games of late and it gave him a bit more space to operate in. It did leave Hendo isolated though.

Jimmy Ryan: 7 - Better performance from Ryan. Found space easier and played the passing game that he wants to and that BBM wants him to. Let's hope he can build on this.

Aaron Morley: 6 - Didn't really offer much. Camps and Ryan both put in more controlled displays in the middle of the pitch but Morley wasn't as involved as much as those two. Again, feel he can offer more if he starts to break up the pitch quicker.

Aaron Wilbraham: 6 - Although some of the '6' ratings here have been handed out to players who didn't really effect the game much, Wilbraham showed some great feet at times and was an outlet with his head - but he mis-controlled a few passes and showed all of the limitations you would expect of a 40 year old target man playing right wing, although that's no fault of his own.

Ian Henderson: 7 - Lovely finish and was unlucky with his attempt in the second half. Deserves more support and service around him. If we are to stay up this season (and I suspect we will with relative ease), then once again Hendo will deserve the majority of the credit.

Rekeil Pyke: 5 - Really struggling for confidence at the moment and looking more like the rather ineffective player we saw in his original loan spell last season.

Attendance: 5,433 (293 away).

Photo: Action Images

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