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Rochdale 1 v 0 Shrewsbury Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 1st February 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Dale 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
Sunday, 2nd Feb 2020 00:19 by Chaff

Rochdale’s relegation worries were eased, for now at least, with a massively important win over Shrewsbury Town at Spotland. A late goal from on-loan Tyler Smith was enough to see off the Shrews.

Robert Sanchez returned from his injury that has kept him out since half time against Newcastle at St James’ Park which meant Jay Lynch dropped to the bench. Jimmy Keohane retained his right back spot while Paul McShane replaced Jim McNulty in the centre of defence to partner fellow Irishman Eoghan O’Connell. Rhys Norrington-Davies lined up at left back. Aaron Morley replaced MJ Williams in the midfield having been out injured for the past few weeks and he partnered Jimmy Ryan in the middle of the park. Ollie Rathbone also returned from injury to take a starting place with Stephen Dooley taking the last midfield spot with Aaron Wilbraham preferred to Tyler Smith to partner Ian Henderson up front. That was the sensible option given Shrewsbury’s back line included three absolute units in Omar Beckles, Ro-Shaun Williams and former Dale loannee Ethan Ebanks-Landell.

New signing Matty Lund was ineligible to play having signed after 12pm yesterday and the same went for Luke Matheson who joined Wolves yesterday in the clubs biggest transfer sale ever but was loaned back to Rochdale as part of the deal.

Truth be told, the first half, Rochdale were awful. We had no rhythm, we gave the ball away constantly and created very little. The second half however was much better without being excellent but Shrewsbury will feel massively aggrieved to have got nothing from the game.

Giving the ball away was a common occurance in the first half and Aaron Morley and Jimmy Ryan were particularly guilty of it. An early stray pass from Morley across his own 18 yard box went straight to Conor McAleny but thankfully Eoghan O’Connell produced an unbelievable block to prevent a certain goal.

Next it was Jimmy Ryan’s turn to give the ball away, this time in the middle of the park, his tackle to try and win it back was avoided and Josh Laurent broke forward at pace, he laid it off for Jason Cummings whose shot was well saved by Spanish Bob.

David Edwards and Donald Love linked up well and got past the Dale defence a little too easily before Sanchez was forced into another save as he kept out Love’s effort.

With the rain swirling round Spotland, Dale did manage their first significant effort on goal but it was a tame effort really from Aaron Morley from 25 yards that was easily saved by O’Leary in the Shrewsbury net.

The half drew to a close and Dale were lucky to be going in 0-0 and had to get a hold of the game somehow.

Shrewsbury had the first effort of the second half when Laurent got on the end of a superb pass from the right hand side, he found his way past O’Connell but Sanchez came racing out to pull off a superb save to keep the scores level. Cummings did have a follow up shot that went wide of the right hand post.

Sanchez was forced into another save as a corner, headed clear by Morley, found it’s way back to Callum Lang whose shot was saved.

A rare good move from Dale saw Morley pick out Wilbraham with a good ball, Wilbraham laid it off for Morley who laid it off for Jimmy Ryan who shot goalwards but his low shot was saved by O’Leary.

Chances were few and far between for Dale but then came the turning point. With just a couple of minutes left, Dale were pushing forward more and Rhys Norrington-Davies did brilliantly to get past the full back, pretty much for the first time all afternoon. His cross was cleared but only as far as Henderson who curled an effort goalwards that beat O’Leary but cannoned back off the crossbar. Substitute Tyler Smith looked like he was going to head home the rebound but Ebanks-Landell got their first, his half headed clearance fell to another Dale substitute in Matty Done whose shot was blocked but landed at the feet of Smith who finally hit the ball past O’Leary into the back of the net to make it 1-0. A huge huge goal!

Dale held on for a massive win. A win that takes Dale 10 points clear of Tranmere Rovers in the last relegation spot. Tranmere do have two games in hand but their form suggests they won’t win them anyway!

Player Ratings:

Robert Sanchez – 8: Superb, made a huge difference him being back in the side, sponsors man of the match.
Jimmy Keohane – 6: Solid enough from Jimmy.
Eoghan O’Connell – 7: Solid as he has been all season.
Paul McShane – 7: Solid as well next to O’Connell.
Rhys Norrington Davies – 6: Struggled a bit first half as everything came down his side but got better second half.
Jimmy Ryan – 6: Gave the ball away a lot first half, better second half.
Aaron Morley - 5: Gave the ball away too much.
Stephen Dooley – 5: Not great again from Dooley.
Oliver Rathbone - 5: Thought he struggled a bit today but was playing wider than he would have preferred I’m sure.
Aaron Wilbraham – 6: Had to come back a lot to get involved as he and Hendo were pretty isolated.
Ian Henderson – 6: Worked hard, was barely in the game first half but effectively set up the goal


Matty Done – 6: Worked hard and provided a better link between midfield and attack.
Tyler Smith - 7: Scored the all important goal, showed great determination as well against a defender twice his size.
Ryan McLaughlin – 6: We do seem to attack quicker when he’s on the pitch, need him to play more.

Photo: Action Images

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