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Doncaster Rovers 1 v 1 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 8th February 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Dale
Saturday, 8th Feb 2020 20:26 by Chaff

Rochdale increased the gap between themselves and the relegation zone with a fully deserved point at Doncaster Rovers despite the worst start imaginable.

Last season’s fixture still gives me nightmares with memories of Magnus Norman, a stubborn Keith Hill and a 5-0 drubbing having conceded the first goal after about 35 seconds. I jokingly said to my missus at the game, “let’s get past 35 seconds before we concede this season!” and we did, but only by about 8 seconds!!

Dale’s choice of kit will have left 442Dale absolutely seething as they lined up in their barely seen grey away kit, which in itself is fine, but then chose to have blue shorts and blue socks with it!

Dale made a couple of changes from the win over Shrewsbury last week with Matty Lund coming straight into the starting eleven following his move back to the club from Scunthorpe, along with Wolves’ newest signing Luke Matheson and Matty Done. Sanchez lined up in goal, Matheson at right back with O’Connell and McShane at centre back with Norrington-Davies at left back. We seemed to line up very narrow but almost in a box shape midfield with Morley almost playing most of the game deeper than the full backs in a sort of quarterback role and Jimmy Ryan also playing deep. Ahead of them were Rathbone and Lund with Done and Henderson up front.

As I mentioned, it took just 43 seconds for Rochdale to go behind. A cross from the left hand side from Sadlier wasn’t closed down by Lund or Ryan and seemingly went past everyone, including Sanchez, into the far corner. Having seen the highlights, it went in off the chest of Jon Taylor to put Donny 1-0 up and visions of last season came flooding back!

Dale looked shaky in the first 10 minutes but soon started to get themselves back in the game and began to dominate possession.

Rhys Norrington-Davies swung a great ball in to the back post and Paul McShane managed to head across goal but the ball was eventually cleared as Dale failed to capitalise.

Doncaster had the next best chance of the half on 25 minutes. A ball into the box was headed clear by Matheson but broke to Sadlier again who got a shot away; almost identical to the goal but this time he was denied by the post!

Just four minutes later, a Matty Done corner was swung into the back post area and again, it was McShane that rose highest, this time he headed the ball goalwards but it looped onto the top of the crossbar and was eventually help by the keeper.

With half time approaching, Aaron Morley was stupidly dispossessed in the middle of the pitch and Doncaster tore Dale apart with a great through ball that found Taylor who forced Sanchez into a good save at his near post. A real let off for Dale but Dale managed to go into the break just 1-0 down.

Lund hadn’t had a great first half and neither had Rathbone or Morley but Jimmy Ryan was the key to anything positive for Dale.

Almost straight from kick off in the second half, Doncaster hit the post for a second time as their left winger turned Matheson inside out, hit across in which rebounded off Aaron Morley and came off the post. Sanchez couldn’t hold it and the rebound was blazed over the bar by Devante Cole.

With 64 minutes gone, Matt Done came off and last weeks hero against Shrewsbury, Tyler Smith, replaced him up front.

Just six minutes later and Dale changed things again with Aaron Wilbraham replacing the returning silver fox (not Philip Schofield), Matty Lund.

Jimmy Ryan had a good chance for Rochdale following a great ball from Norrington-Davies but his effort went over the bar.

Just a few minutes later and Donny went close again. A fantastic ball out wide by Gomes for the home side, came back into the box and Gomes himself got on the end of it but his tame effort was cleared off the line by Paul McShane.

Dale’s final substitution saw Stephen Dooley replace Jimmy Ryan. I openly didn’t agree with that as, for me, Ryan had been superb and Rathbone had struggled for the most part and looked knackered. I’d have carted Rathbone off but as you can see by the next paragraph, it’s a good job I’m not a manager!

What the f*** do I know! At last, the breakthrough Rochdale had been waiting for! A ball was played into the feet of Ian Henderson who played a great flick on for Oliver Rathbone who broke, at pace, through the middle of the pitch as space opened up. He must have run thirty yards before getting to the edge of the box and rifling a shot past the keeper into the bottom corner for just his second league goal this season. A bloody brilliant finish!

Rochdale managed to hold on for a valuable and well-earned point and now sit 11 points outside the relegation zone with a huge game against Tranmere at home next week. We also have the matter of Sunderland away on Tuesday.

Player Ratings:

Robert Sanchez – 7: His kicking and his laid back ways give you a heart attack but he doesn’t half have a big presence in that net. Another good performance.
Luke Matheson – 6: Did quite well going forward but found it tough defensively.
Eoghan O’Connell – 7: Solid as he has been all season.
Paul McShane – 7: Solid as well next to O’Connell and went close.
Rhys Norrington Davies – 7: Much more like the RND we saw in the first half of the season.
Jimmy Ryan – 8: Superb from Ryan, always wanted the ball and every passage of play was started through him.
Aaron Morley - 5: Gave the ball away too much.
Matty Lund – 5: Not a great debut in all honesty but no doubt will see much more from Lundy.
Oliver Rathbone - 6: Thought he struggled a bit today again but scored the all-important equaliser.
Matty Done – 6: A lot of endeavour but not much else.
Ian Henderson – 7: Worked hard and came very deep throughout, played well for me.


Tyler Smith– 6: Did alright when he came on
Aaron Wilbraham - 6: Adds something different when he comes on
Stephen Dooley– 6: Not on long enough to judge

Photo: Action Images

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