|Accrington Stanley 1 v 2 Rochdale|
SkyBet League One
Wednesday, 1st January 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Accrington 1-2 Dale
Wednesday, 1st Jan 2020 22:49 by AtThePeake
Dale picked up a much needed three points to start 2020 with a bang on New Year's Day, earning a seventh consecutive victory over Accrington Stanley.
There were encouraging signs for Dale from the offset as captain and top goalscorer Ian Henderson returned to the starting eleven after a brief injury hiatus kept him out of the last few games.
There was a second consecutive start for 16 year old attacker Kwadwo Baah, while Paul McShane also found themselves in the starting XI as they looksto continue to ease into action following their own injury lay-offs.
It was clear from the early stages that chances would come to both teams as Dion Charles' attempt was held by Robert Sanchez whilst Hendo could arguably have done better with a turn-and-shoot attempt, both within the first few minutes.
The best chance of the opening stages actually fell to Hendo, but he showed a little rustiness perhaps having missed out on the last few games, latching on to a fine lofted pass from Rathbone only to wildly blast his volley over the bar from inside the box.
Just a few seconds later though and Accrington were on the attack themselves, Clark's long-range effort being blocked into the path of Finley, who flashed a shot into the side netting from the edge of the box, which some of the home support seemingly thought had hit the back of the net at first.
Accrington were very lucky to keep ten on the pitch for the remainder of the match though. Just moments after picking up one yellow, Ben Barclay scythed down Rathbone but somehow escaped a second booking. Unsurprisingly, John Coleman decided to sub the clearly riled midfielder a few moments later.
Just moments later, Stanley were forced into a second substitution as former Dale winger Sean McConville hit the ground awkwardly after jumping for a header. The stretcher was required to carry him around the pitch and he was replaced with Joe Pritchard.
Perhaps these two key players being forced out of action for Stanley helped Dale to gain control of the game and even though Barclay was spared a red card, his lack of presence in the midfield allowed Rathbone and Ryan to really start to dominate possession.
Unsurprisingly given this, Dale had the better of the closing stages of the first half and the breakthrough finally came in stoppage time.
Continuing his bright performance, youngster Baah drove forward from inside the Dale half to find Camps, who slipped the ball through to Hendo who showed trademark skill and composure to lift the ball over keeper Josef Bursik and into the goal to give the visitors the lead at the break.
The early stages of the second half did however belong to Accy as they looked to force Dale onto the back foot. Some resolute defending limited chances however - huge goalmouth scramble eventually resulted in a Dale free-kick whilst Sanchez also did well to collect some high balls into the box.
It was however, Dale who were next on the scoresheet. With the drive of players like Rathbone and Baah, the visitors were always a threat on the scoresheet and it was from an incisive counter-attack that BBM's men added the second.
Some great short passing in the middle led to a brilliantly weighted through ball from Rathbone, which Dooley raced on to beyond the hosts' backline. With so much time, it would have been easy for the Irishman to let the pressure get to him, but he showed patience to wait for the perfect moment to slot home for 0-2 - cue wild celebrations both on the pitch and in the away end(s).
For the following period, the third goal seemed far more likely to come from Dale again than it did Stanley. Hendo almost managed to control a lofted through pass which would have seen him one-on-one with Bursik, whilst Baah had a right-footed strike blocked after another threatening run down the left side.
Stanley did have an absolute guilt-edged chance on 74 minutes which would have made the final 20 minutes including injury time very edgy, but after the ball came back into the box from a cleared corner, Pritchard was lurking unmarked at the back post only to blast over the bar from just a few yards out.
They had a few more chances too, Hughes heading over from an Opoku free-kick and Charles flashing another chance over the bar, but hope and discipline was clearly draining from the hosts
Hope should frankly have been completely extinguished a few minutes later when one substitute, Fabio Tavares, headed a cross back across goal to another substitute, Calvin Andrew. Just a few yards from goal, surely Calvin was about to end his goal drought? A few seconds later and the ball was spinning away, players and fans alike exasperated at the striker's fumbled miss. Oh Calvin.
One minute into the five minutes of added time, Stanley had one back as Zanzala prodded home, but it was too little too late for the hosts as Dale held strong to pick up a much needed win and continue their hoodoo over their Lancashire rivals to ensure a great start to the new year.
Robert Sanchez - 7: Very very good taking crosses into the box and made a couple of decent stops. Actually managed to spare us any seriously dodgy passes this time around too!
Tyler Magloire - 7: Excellent first half, winning tackles and causing a threat advancing down the wing. Struggled a little in the second half and got caught in possession more than once.
Eoghan O'Connell - 7: How does he seem to constantly pop up when a lofted cross comes into the box? Looked as comfortable on the ball as ever too, our best player so far this season by quite a difference.
Paul McShane - 7: The fact that our record is so, so much better with him in the team is absolutely not a coincidence. Our inexperienced defence looks so uncomfortable when trying to defend a lead at times, his calm head is pivotal in those situations.
Jimmy Keohane - 7: A strong performance from Jimmy who looked more comfortable than ever on the ball today and wasn't really threatened defensively by Clark, who played well at Spotland earlier in the season.
Jimmy Ryan - 9: His best performance for us so far. Looked strong on the ball, played some great passes and generally controlled the tempo of the game. Man of the match for me.
Oli Rathbone - 8: Closely followed by this man. We miss his drive and energy so much when he is missing and his pass through to Dooley for the winner was excellent too.
Stephen Dooley - 7: Didn't effect the game too much aside from his goal but took it brilliantly and worked hard throughout.
Callum Camps - 6: Not his best performance but still managed to get an assist for Hendo's goal and still managed to find the space between Accy's midfield and defence fairly regularly.
Kwadwo Baah - 8: Brilliant performance from the youngster, who showed quick feet time and again and drew foul after foul. The Stanley defenders simply didn't know how to deal with him - exactly what we've been missing!
Ian Henderson - 7: Took his goal brilliantly and was a constant out-ball for the midfield - but should have done better with a couple of chances before the goal. Brilliant to have him back.
Photo: Action Images
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