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Rochdale 0 v 2 Sheffield Wednesday
Carabao Cup
Tuesday, 15th September 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Rochdale 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Tuesday, 15th Sep 2020 22:28 by Chaff

Dale exited the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 defeat at home to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, a scoreline that flattered the home side, not the away side.

Dale made a couple of changes from Saturday's poor performance with Ryan McLaughlin and Paul McShane both rested and Stephen Dooley dropping to the bench. Manchester City loannee Yeboah Amankwah, Jim McNulty and Kwadwo Baah all getting a start. Dale lined up with what looked like a 4-4-2 with Gavin Bazunu in net, Eoghan O'Connell at right back bizarrely, Yeboah Amankwah and Jim McNulty in the centre of defence and Jimmy Keohane at left back. Matty Lund and Aaron Morley were in the centre of midfield with Kwadwo Baah on the right wing and Ollie Rathbone playing on the left. Alex Newby and Matt Done were up front. On the bench were Jay Lynch, Joe Dunne, Jimmy Ryan, Lewis Bradley, Ethan Brierley, Stephen Dooley and Fabio Tavares.

It's fair to say that Dale got off to a decent start and looked a lot quicker and played with a higher tempo than Saturday and with just two minutes on the clock, Alex Newby had an effort comfortably saved by Wildsmith, the Wednesday keeper.

Sheffield Wednesday played a short corner to Adam Reach and he had a shot well blocked when it was looking like it was heading goalwards.

The visitors were growing into the game and starting to dominate possession which I expected but Dale were closing down quickly and preventing Wednesday from having much time on the ball but Dale were finding it difficult to get the ball down and play.

Adam Reach went agonisingly close for Wednesday from a dangerous free kick as his effort curled just past the post following a foul by Amankwah on 19 minutes.

Kwadwo Baah struggled to get into the game at all and it was only really when he got clattered towards the end of the first half when I noticed him even playing. Perhaps, despite the calls for him to start, the former Crystal Palace youngster is better utilised as an impact substitute.

Ollie Rathbone was having a much better game than he did Saturday and his superb ball played in Matt Done but he was on his right foot which is probably only useful for standing on and he couldn't bring it over to his left in time so played it out wide to Keohane who had a weak effort blocked.

With the half coming to a close, Aaron Morley swung a free kick into the box and Jimmy Keohane's header went harmlessly over the bar and the half ended 0-0.

Dale needed to make the counter attack work for them in the second half and they were still very much in the game although it soon became apparent that they weren't

Sheffield Wednesday started the half like a freight train and Gavin Bazunu had to spare the blushes of Ollie Rathbone who had given the ball away far too easily and the City loanee pulled off a tremendous save to tip it past the post.

Bazunu was again called into action as Adam Reach toe-poked an effort goalwards but the young Irish keeper was on hand to pull off another good save.

The visitors went close again when a fantastic cross by Borner was headed against the post and clawed away by Bazunu but the flag went up and Dale had escaped again.

Baah had been completely anonymous and was soon replaced by Stephen Dooley with just 5 minutes of the second half gone. Dooley's first contribution saw him release Newby who drove the ball into the box and Wildsmith saved it well.

Believe it or not Dale could, and probably should, have taken the lead when a Matty Done corner was met by McNulty but he didn't connect well and the chance was gone.

Dale paid a heavy price for that miss as the relentless Sheffield Wednesday pressure finally paid off. A wonderful ball in from Palmer was headed home by Kachunga but Jim McNulty completely missed his header and left a free header for the Wednesday front man. McNulty just couldn't get off the ground and just never seemed like he was going to get there. Wednesday 1 Dale 0.

Would that spark Dale into life? Well, not really as the onslaught continued. Dale were effectively chasing shadows for the rest of the game.

Adam Reach should have scored as he met another brilliant ball by Palmer but Bazunu, yet again was there to pull off a brilliant save.

A rare Dale attack saw Rathbone do well to break forward and release Matt Done, this time on his favoured left foot but he took that long to get his shot away that it was easily blocked and the danger averted.

Hunt had a free kick about 25 yards out and his strike was again, brilliantly saved by Bazunu. No prizes for guessing who gets Dale man of the match tonight.

Dale's best chance of the game fell to Ollie Rathbone as he somehow managed to get an effort away while being fouled and his shot was deflected inches wide of the right post. Easily the closest Dale had come to this point.

Another horrendous mistake from McNulty let in Windass down the right side and he squared for the ever-dangerous Adam Reach who smashed his effort against the crossbar.

Dooley had come on and at least attempted to get the ball forward but it's not unfair to say the Irishman had given the ball away more times than he'd found a blue and black shirt.

With 10 minutes left, Fabio Tavares replaced Alex Newby who is evidently still trying to find his feet at this level but still looked to create when he could.

Another top-class save from Bazunu kept out a fierce Josh Windass shot and I think it's also fair to say that without Bazunu, this could easily have been 6 or 7-0 with zero complaints.

Windass had a glorious chance to extend the lead after getting on the end of another sensational ball from Palmer but Windass could only steer his shot wide of the mark. A sitter in all honesty.

But, not to go unrewarded, Windass did manage to get on the score-sheet as Adam Reach drove a low free kick into the box from the touchline and Windass got ahead of O'Connell and Keohane to smash the ball past Bazunu to make it 2-0 to the Owls and that was that.

As one sided a half of football as I've ever seen and I watched my lad's team get beat 8-0 at the weekend!

Dale looked dead on their feet at the end and there is no doubting the effort is there but we just seem miles behind at the moment. It doesn't get any easier either as my bet for the title, Portsmouth come to town on Sunday. Please, if there is a God up there, let us have some more attacking options by then! Oh and a left back!

On a positive note, the pitch looked ace, and so did the home kit!

Player Ratings:

GAVIN BAZUNU - 9 (Sensational performance from the 18 year old. Genuinely stopped it being a cricket score)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Didn't do anything wrong really and was played out of position)

Yeboah Amankwah - 7 (Did alright as well, looked composed on the ball)

Jim McNulty - 5 (Two awful mistakes, one of which cost us the first goal)

Jimmy Keohane - 7 (Solid as he usually is in a position he's not a natural in, story of his Dale career)

Aaron Morley - 6 (Did ok first half I thought but hardly got a touch in the second half)

Matt Lund - 6 (Still looks off the pace to me but did put in a couple of decent challenges and put himself about)

Kwadwo Baah - 5 (Took until he was clattered towards the end of the first half to notice him, subbed early in the second half)

Ollie Rathbone - 7 (Much better than weekend. Lots of endeavour and tried to get forward when he could)

Alex Newby - 6 (Still finding his feet at this level and found it tough going)

Matt Done - 5 (It's just not there anymore for Done is it which is very hard to see)

Stephen Dooley - 6 (Did spark a little life into Dale but also extremely wasteful in possession)
Jimmy Ryan - 6 (Couldn't get into the game after coming on)
Fabio Tavares - 6 (Didn't touch the ball)

Photo: Action Images

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