|Portsmouth 3 v 0 Rochdale|
SkyBet League One
Friday, 28th February 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Portsmouth 3-0 Dale
Saturday, 29th Feb 2020 01:44 by AtThePeake
Dale were perhaps slightly unfortunate to suffer a heavy defeat in Hampshire on Friday night as they went down 3-0 at Portsmouth.
Goals from Ryan Williams, Steve Seddon and Christian Burgess earned Pompey all three points but in truth, the scoreline flattered the hosts as Dale put in a fairly strong performance in difficult conditions.
The opening stages passed without too much incident aside from a few Portsmouth free-kicks in dangerous areas but then Dale came into the game and the first real chance of the game came their way after some fine interplay between Aaron Wilbraham and Rhys Norrington-Davies.
Eventually, the ball was played through to Henderson into space but with the right hand side of the goal gaping, the Dale skipper decided to attempt a left-footed chip which was gratefully plucked out of the air by the Portsmouth keeper Alex Bass.
Dale continued to press on though with a couple of efforts from outside the box, Morley's curling effort being pushed over by Bass before Matt Lund's strike drifted away from the goal and Rhys Norrington-Davies had a dangerous low cross well held by Bass.
It was, however, Portsmouth who made the break through just a few minutes before half-time. With Dale temporarily down to ten men before Rhys Norrington-Davies could be replaced by Jimmy Keohane having taken a knock, the hosts would get on the scoresheet.
A downwards header from a cross from the left hand side appeared to be an easy save for Sanchez but the Brighton loanee spilled the attempt and it was quickly pounced upon by Williams, undoing Dale's hard defensive work to put Pompey ahead just before the break.
Despite that disappointment, Dale were still in the game in the second half, but Portsmouth's superior quality in the attacking areas meant that the defence were always under pressure when they didn't have the ball.
But not long into the second half, Brian Barry-Murphy's men almost drew level in spectacular fashion. Some nice footwork from Henderson saw him work some space about 25 yards from goal and his wind-assisted shot dipped, swerved and crashed back off the crossbar.
The second half turned out to be a little more open generally than the first and both sides were forging chances, Pompey next to come close with an effort blocked by MJ Williams before Ronan Curtis fired a fine chance wide from inside the box before heading another past Sanchez's left post a few moments later.
Having come so close to drawing level once already through Henderson's strike, Dale definitely should have had the equaliser on 74 minutes. Keohane's sweeping cross from the left hand side was met by Matt Lund but was met by Bass with relative ease and the big chance had passed Dale by.
Three minutes later and Dale were punished for their lack of a clinical touch when Steve Seddon's thunderous left-footed strike with the outside of the boot curled into the bottom corner and with just 12 minutes on the clock, the defeat was all but sealed at this point.
If the game wasn't over at that point, then five minutes later it was when Christian Burgess headed in from a free-kick to put the seal on the win for the hosts and to extend Dale's dreadful run against the Hampshire outfit.
Despite the result, this was an improved performance from Dale despite some key players such as Eoghan O'Connell, Ollie Rathbone and Jimmy Ryan all missing. There was more attacking intent like the fans have asked for - the issue this time, was making it count.
Robert Sanchez - 5 - Didn't have too much to do yet still managed to concede three goals and the first was definitely partly his fault. Distribution was fairly strong though.
Luke Matheson - 6 - Showed his quick feet to get away from the opposition at times but wasn't able to effect the game as much as we'd have liked.
Paul McShane - 5 - Seems even less likely to make a forward pass without O'Connell next to him. Didn't defend particularly well either.
Jim McNulty - 5 - See McShane.
Rhys Norrington-Davies - 7 - Was getting forward well before his injury and looked dangerous as ever attacking down the left-hand side without being too troubled defensively.
MJ Williams - 8 - I thought this was one of MJ's best performances in a Dale shirt, particularly in the first half when he broke up several Pompey attacks at source in the midfield. Played like he had a point to prove having been out of the team recently.
Aaron Morley - 6 - Struggled to effect the game and didn't seem to have the same intensity and energy that he had before his injury issues this season.
Matt Lund - 5 - Still appears to be struggling to find his feet although again he was playing out of position out on the right hand side. Should have buried the header.
Callum Camps - 7 - Camps did try to make things happen but he needs better support from those around him. The intent was certainly there though.
Aaron Wilbraham - 5 - Another example of how his performances from the start are far less effective. Although he did well to bring the ball down a few times, his end product was desperately lacking with some badly misplayed passes.
Ian Henderson - 6 - Was desperately unlucky with the strike that hit the crossbar, but the chip was a dreadful decision and he didn't have much impact aside from that.
Jimmy Keohane - 6 - Put in a great cross for Lund, proving that he can effect the game in a dangerous way - when he wants to.
Matt Done - 5 - Story of Done's season, worked hard without any reward.
Calvin Andrew - 5 - Why?
Photo: Action Images
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