Match Report: Dale 1-2 Coventry
Saturday, 22nd Feb 2020 21:37 by Chaff
A poor performance against high flying Coventry City saw Dale pick up their 17th league defeat of the season.
Two goals conceded in really poor, yet familiar, fashion before Aaron Wilbraham’s 5th goal of the season teased a late chance of a point that never materialised. It’s the hope that kills you isn’t it? Nobody really expected to win the game, well apart from the man stood next to me who was constantly moaning about us not hoofing it forward. Ironically, when we did that, we scored. Maybe he’s right? Does anyone else go to games wondering more how Tranmere are getting on than how we’re getting on? Or is it just me?
A pitch more fitting for building sand castles than playing football was well protected by a big dome thing that at least got the game on despite this being something like the 800th consecutive day of rainfall and Coventry fans arriving by Ark instead of coach. It did prevent us from playing our passing brand of football to any sort of decent standard, though, the fact we’re just not brilliant at it didn’t help us either.
I had no real hopes of winning the game before kick-off but when the team news came through, I had even less. We had Camps back but no Rathbone. News filtered through during the week that McLaughlin was going to be out for a few more weeks, which may well signal the end of his injury plagued spell at Rochdale. Out of nowhere, Kwadwo Baah came into the starting line-up as well. The rest of the side was fairly predictable with Sanchez in net while Matheson, O’Connell, McShane and Norrington-Davies in defence. In midfield were Lund, Ryan, Dooley, Camps and Baah while Henderson was up front. On the bench were Lynch, McNulty, MJ, Keohane, Done, Smith and Wilbraham.
I thought, let’s keep it tight, I’m sick of us conceding early goals so let’s nip that in the bud and keep it steady for the first half an hour. So, naturally with just 4 minutes gone, Rochdale were behind. Seriously! Do other teams concede as many early goals as we do because it’s depressing. The familiar face of Jamie Allen, one Rochdale’s version of Paul Scholes, played a short corner to Liam Walsh who crossed into the box, Bobby Sanchez came for it and ended up in a different postcode to the ball while Matt Lund was outjumped by Michael Rose, not the former magic toes that we used to have. Sanchez’ strongest attribute is his ability to come and get crosses yet he was never getting to this one at all. Dale were 1-0 down before my bloody Bovril had cooled sufficiently to drink!
Dale, like every other week, turned up for the game 15 minutes later than the opposition and when they did, they managed to get back into the game and look threatening at times. It’s just a shame we’re always 1-0 down by this point!
A penalty shout was turned down by the referee when McShane’s header into the box clearly hit the outstretched arm of a Coventry player. The Pearl Street appealed, the players appealed, nowt doing!
Callum Camps being back was good news and he picked up the ball in the middle of the park and wen t on a marauding run before playing in Norrington-Davies down the left and the Welshman pinged in a brilliant first time ball which Ian Henderson got on the end of but Marosi in the Coventry net was on hand to push Hendo’s effort onto the post before it was cleared for a corner. A really good chance for Dale and a really good chance for Hendo to creep closer to the all-time goalscoring record.
Coventry were next to go close when centre back Dominic Hyam rose well to get his head to Jamie Allen’s pinpoint cross but his header went narrowly wide of the post. Suspect Sanchez had it covered in fairness.
Dale were forced into an early substitution on 39 minutes. I just thought it was because Baah had been poor again and offered no support for Matheson who was also struggling in the game but having read the messageboard briefly, Baah seemed to be clutching his chest and was followed down the tunnel by the club doctor. Hopefully, this is just a precaution. Baah was replaced by Matty Done.
Another enforced change was about to happen before the half time whistle went. Eoghan O’Connell went down clutching his hamstring and after a few stretches, he realised he couldn’t stay on but as he was about to leave the field, the referee blew for half time.
That change happened at half time with O’Connell making way for McNulty which is a huge blow for Dale who will be praying he’s not out for any length of time.
Matt Godden went close for the visitors when he got on the end of a good long throw but the striker’s header was well saved by Sanchez.
Dale’s third and final substitution came with just over an hour gone as Stephen Dooley made way for Aaron Wilbraham.
Coventry went 2-0 ahead and it seemed effectively game over. A shocking ball out by McNulty went straight to Dabo who in turn found Jamie Allen whose excellent through ball found Godden who hit a first time shot across the goal and looked simple for Sanchez to get down to but the Sanchez’s save was as weak as water and the ball found its way into the bottom corner. Sanchez visibly pissed off with himself, punching the ground in frustration. Really poor goal to concede.
Dale though, hit back straight away. In fact, the Blazing Squad wannabes in the away end were still goading our corner of the Sandy when Aaron Wilbraham hit back for Dale, less than 10 minutes after coming on. Literally straight from kick-off, Camps laid it off to Ryan who pinged it forward, well, he hoofed it really, Wilbraham got on the end of it and bundled the ball past Marosi to make it 2-1 to Coventry.
A lot of huffing and puffing from Rochdale who tried to get the breakthrough but nothing really worked. McShane had a half chance while Done was offside every time we tried to break forward.
Even Sanchez came up for a very late corner but nothing came from it and Dale fell to a 2-1 defeat. Another game where our own inabilities and mistakes have cost us.
The fixtures don’t get any easier as Dale travel to Portsmouth on Friday night and then take on Rotherham after that before the big game against Tranmere Rovers.
Robert Sanchez: 4 - Arguably at fault for both goals today. Poor.
Matty Done: 6 - Worked hard but infuriating to watch being flagged offside all the time
Photo: Action Images
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