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Huddersfield Town 0 v 1 Rochdale
Carabao Cup
Saturday, 5th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Huddersfield 0-1 Rochdale (Carabao Cup)
Saturday, 5th Sep 2020 17:49 by Chaff

Who gave us a chance? I didn't! But, against all odds, Rochdale are through to round 2 of the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win over Championship side Huddersfield Town.

A really hard working performance was rewarded with an unexpected 1-0 win thanks to new skipper Eoghan O'Connell's second half header as we head into the hat for round 2.

Rochdale's first starting eleven of the new season featured new signings Gavin Bazunu and Alex Newby and the returning Ryan McLaughlin along with Ollie Rathbone who had missed part of pre-season amid speculation he was off to Hull City. The club managed to stand firm, or have for now at least. So, the lineup to start the game was Gavin Bazunu in net, with a back four of Ryan McLaughlin, Eoghan O'Connell, Paul McShane and Jimmy Keohane. In midfield were Aaron Morley, Jimmy Ryan and Stephen Dooley with Ollie Rathbone and Alex Newby linking up with Matt Done up front. The Dale bench looked more like a school football team with the exception of Jay Lynch and Jim McNulty with Fabio Tavares, Joe Dunne, Lewis Bradley, Kwadwo Baah and Ethan Brierley making up a very youthful looking bench.

Well, having to use iFollow to watch games and do match reports isn't something I think I wanna get used to but needs must and the good news is football is back one way or another, albeit behind closed doors. It did take a few minutes for iFollow to let me on to start so if we'd got off to a great start, I'd have missed that but we got it sorted eventually although the commentary was quite a bit behind the play.

Dale lined up in their third kit of green and black which looked brilliant but a slow start to the game saw very little in the way of action in the opening quarter of an hour and the first meaningful action saw Dale keeper Bazunu pull off a good double save to keep out Koroma.

Rochdale's first good chance saw them put the ball in the net. Matt Done finished off his chance but was adjudged to have been offside despite the ball coming off a Huddersfield player. The centre backs clattered into each other and the ball fell to Alex Newby whose shot deflected into the path of Done who put the ball away only for the referee to overrule the linesman and rule it out.

Huddersfield should have gone ahead shortly after that as Harry Toffolo got to a corner ahead of everyone else and in particular ahead of Gavin Bazunu in the Dale goal but his header flew over the bar when it should have flown into the net.

Some great defending from McShane stopped another Huddersfield chance as he put in a wonderful block to stop an effort from outside the box and then was up quick enough to make an impressive interception and clear the danger. The defending overall from Rochdale was hugely impressive with the whole back line doing well but I never get tired of watching Eoghan O'Connell. Nothing seems to get past him and not only was he defending well but he was bringing the ball out of defence and trying to spray passes wide and doing it with success.

Jimmy Ryan hit a shot well over the bar with just over half an hour gone and then Bacuna for Huddersfield did exactly the same, not once, but twice just before the half time break and the teams went into the interval level.

Dale hadn't played badly at all and much like the Port Vale friendly, we kept the ball well but had lacked in the final third.

Maybe it says a lot that when Dale did open the scoring, five minutes after the restart, it was a centre back that scored! Ryan McLaughlin was fouled over the near the touchline which saw him clatter into the advertising boards. A wonderful ball in from the right hand side from Matt Done was brilliantly headed home by Eoghan O'Connell for his first ever Rochdale goal in his first appearance as the new club captain.

Dale had began to play some very good football and went agonisingly close when Jimmy Keohane arrived at the back post and headed over the bar.

With just less than 20 minutes left we brought Kwadwo Baah on to replace the evidently knackered Oliver Rathbone.

Huddersfield's best chance up to that point came as Koroma hit a shot just wide of the far post but other than that, Huddersfield had struggled to create much at all.

Koroma had the next effort on goal but his shot was that high over the bar I was waiting for the touch judges to raise their flag to confirm the conversion was good.

Matt Done was next to be replaced for Rochdale. Done had struggled for pace in the second half in good positions that he wasn't able to make the most of and Tavares was his replacement with around 10 minutes left of the game.

Bazunu was finally called into action as a wide effort, that was probably a cross, from Mpenza was well saved by the on-loan City keeper.

Toffolo headed goalwards as we approached stoppage time but his header was cleared by the absolute man mountain Eoghan O'Connell again.

The clock ticked down and 16 year old Ethan Brierley replaced the also impressive Jimmy Ryan for the final couple of minutes in what was Brierley's debut for Rochdale.

The final whistle went and Dale had recorded an unlikely victoriy. Nobody gave us a chance. I didn't give us a chance and not many fans will have seen that coming at all but on the evidence today, Huddersfield fans will be worried because that was an awful performance but one we had to take advantage of and did, brilliantly.

And it's on to round two!

Player Ratings:

Gavin Bazunu - 7 (Not called into too much action but did well overall and looks very decent with the ball at his feet too, a debut)

Ryan McLaughlin - 7 (Did well also, linked up well down the right and came through injury free I think!!)

Paul McShane - 7 (The whole defence did well to be fair and although he gave the ball away a couple of times, he defended well)

EOGHAN O'CONNELL - 9 (Brilliant performance, even the Yorkshire commentators were raving about EOC. Capped off a brilliant performance with his first goal for the club as well)

Jimmy Keohane - 7 (Did well in an unfamiliar position, defended well and almost scored as well)

Jimmy Ryan - 7 (Played well, didn't give the ball away, started all of our attacks from deep and looked impressive)

Aaron Morley - 6 (A quieter game for Morley but apart from one very wayward pass that the defence had to mop up, did quite well overall)

Stephen Dooley - 6 (Thought he looked off the pace in the first half but came into it more in the second half)

Ollie Rathbone - 6 (Worked hard but looked tired early on I thought)

Alex Newby - 7 (Always wants the ball and always wants to create and keep the ball moving which was good to see)

Matt Done - 6 (Great ball for the goal and worked hard but his legs looked like they were a step behind his intentions)


Kwadwo Baah - 6 (Very little impact after coming on)
Fabio Tavares - 6 (Not on long enough really)
Ethan Brierley - 6 (Good to see him make his debut)

Photo: Action Images

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