|Rochdale 3 v 1 Rotherham United|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 7th March 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Stockport 0-2 Rochdale - Friendly
Saturday, 22nd Aug 2020 14:58 by AtThePeake
Rochdale ran out deserved 0-2 winners at Edgeley Park on Saturday afternoon in their second pre-season friendly ahead of the 2020/2021 campaign.
Second-half goals from Matty Lund and Kwadwo Baah capped off a confident display against Stockport County of the National League and saw Dale make it two wins from two from their pre-season schedule.
Despite of course no fans being present, the game was being streamed live on Stockport County's YouTube channel allowing fans to watch the side in action without having to pay the £6 fee charged by Atherton Colleries during Wednesday's friendlies and also allowing some supporters the handy feature of a live-chat section which was utilised by a handful of Dale supporters to wind up some of the home team's supporters who were also tuning in.
The visitors took to the field quite a few minutes later than their opponents, sporting the new retro-look green and black third kit - quashing any worries that it would become too much of a clash with any blue kits we come up against this season, so no worries there 442Dale.
It was a strong starting XI selected by Brian Barry-Murphy with Jay Lynch in between the sticks, a back four from right to left of Ryan McLaughlin, Paul McShane, Jim McNulty and Jimmy Keohane, a midfield three of Jimmy Ryan, Matty Lund and Ollie Rathbone with Alex Newby playing just in front of them behind a front two of Matt Done and Fabio Tavares.
Dale had the better of the opening stages and made an opening within a few minutes with Done squaring the ball to Tavares on the edge of the box but his first touch was off and the County defence put enough pressure on to take the sting out of the shot.
Newby almost found the breakthrough a few seconds later when some more impressive build-up play from Done saw the ball break to the new signing but his attempt came back off the upright.
The ex-Chorley man hit the woodwork again just a few minutes later with a long-range free-kick that was almost Callum Camps-esque in the way it swerved and dipped - but the ball came back off the crossbar rather than dropping into the top corner.
Stockport came into the game a little more afterwards, with former Dale winger Jordan Williams the main threat from the left-hand side with a couple of dangerous crosses. However, the ex-Barrow man took a knock not long after and with his withdrawal from the game, County seemed to struggle for an outlet in coming forward.
Done was next to go close for Dale, continuing his impressive first-half performance with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box that flew just inches past the far post and he almost followed in a Tavares attempt on the rebound just after, only for his attempt to be closed down by the home defence.
The final chance of the half fell to Tavares when he latched onto a magnificent, deep cross from McLaughlin but seemed to be caught between two minds and in the end, neither volleyed the ball goal wards or trapped it and simply tapped the ball wide.
As expect, plenty of changes were made during the half-time break. Lynch remained in goal, with trialist Caleb Richards coming on at left-back and Keohane switching to the right side of the defence in place of McLaughlin. New skipper Eoghan O'Connell replaced Paul McShane in defence alongside Jim McNulty with Ryan, Rathbone, Newby and Done all withdrawn to be replaced by Aaron Morley, Kacper Mialkowski Mialkowski, Ethan Brierley and Kwadwo Baah.
Dale broke through in the early stages of the second half with some excellent pressure from Baah on the Stockport defence seeing him win the ball and drive forward towards the box. Having seen Baah's shot blocked, Mialkowski followed up with a left-footed drive from the edge of the area that was dragged just wide.
The two youngsters in midfield, Brierley and Mialkowski were looking bright though and it was a through-ball from the Polish youth international that opened up a chance for Baah who showed great feet to beat two defenders but should've done far better with the shot, which was saved by the goalkeeper. Fortunately for the visitors, Matt Lund was on hand to prod the rebound goalwards and it crept over the line to give the visitors the lead.
That was Lund's last action of the game as he was replaced by Harrison Hopper and with so many youngsters now on the pitch, the match actually seemed to ape that of a youth team game in terms of tempo, with Dale producing some lovely passing moves that lacked any real intensity or inventiveness. The next two subs saw McNulty and Tavares replaced by Stephen Dooley and Keaton Mulvey, with Brierley dropping into centre-back.
Dale hit the woodwork for the third time in the game when a lovely searching ball from Morley on the left-hand side found the head of Keohane but the Irishman saw his looping header bounce back off the bar.
Stockport's first shot finally came on 72 minutes when a long ball from Turnbull picked out new signing Alex Reid who took a fine first touch to bring it down but failed to get any real power on the shot which was easily held by Lynch and the same happened again a few minutes later with Reid holding off Brierley but a weak shot letting him down after some good work to create the space for the shot.
Baah again showed his skill to create a chance on the left-hand side of the box, throwing in a couple of stepovers to bamboozle a Stockport defender and shift the ball onto his favoured right shot but again the shot was weak at the end of some more exciting build-up play.
A real defensive mix-up handed another chance for Reid and he perhaps should've done better having out-muscled O'Connell but saw his shot blocked and the Dale skipper redeemed himself immediately by flinging himself in front of Turnbull's effort on the rebound. Lynch made his best save of the game from the resulting corner, doing well to hold onto Stephenson's goal-bound header.
Dale finally wrapped the game up in injury-time though when one of Baah's attempts finally connected. With the six yard box completely crowded, a short corner was taken to the former Crystal Palace trainee who again shifted the ball onto his right and rather than attempting to blast it through a melee of players, arrowed it the left of said melee and into the top corner to wrap up a second pre-season win for Brian Barry-Murphy and his side.
Photo: Action Images
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