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Rochdale 2 v 1 Fleetwood Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 3rd October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Rochdale 2-1 Fleetwood Town
Saturday, 3rd Oct 2020 17:34 by Chaff

Dale got their first three points of the season at home to Fleetwood Town with an unexpected 2-1 win thanks to goals from Lund and Tavares.

Dale's injury woes have seemingly worsened when the team news came through the social media streams and Dale were without Jimmy Ryan and Jay Lynch. This added to a list of absentees that already included Stephen Humphrys, Yeboah Amankwah, Kwadwo Baah and Ryan McLaughlin. It later turned out that Lynch was missing as his partner had just given birth. This meant Dale went into the game with just six subs, five of which were teenagers and only four of them were even professional players with second year scholar Ben Chalton replacing Jay Lynch on the bench as sub keeper. So with all that said, Dale lined up with Gavin Bazunu in net, Jimmy Keohane at right back with Matt Done at left back and Paul McShane partnering skipper Eoghan O'Connell in the centre of defence. In midfield were Aaron Morley, Matty Lund, Oliver Rathbone and Stephen Dooley with Alex Newby playing off Jake Beesley. On the bench were Ben Chalton (GK), Joe Dunne, Jim McNulty, Ethan Brierley, Harrison Hopper and Fabio Tavares.

Dale started the game very well and had a shout for a penalty with just two minutes gone. Beesley was played in one on one with Cairns in the Fleetwood net and it looked to us like he'd knocked the ball past the keeper and was then brought down. The referee inexplicably did nothing and play continued but it looked a stonewall penalty to me.

Just seconds later and Alex Newby got in a very similar position to Beesley but he couldn't control the long ball and the keeper gathered the ball.

Dale's good start continued and they were creating much more than in previous league games. A great left footed cross from Jimmy Keohane found Rathbone who headed on target but Cairns tipped it wide for a Dale corner.

The resulting corner was swung in brilliantly by Matty Done and Matty Lund rose highest to head the ball home to give Dale a fully deserved 1-0 lead with 13 minutes gone! Scenes in the Chaffey living room!!

Lund almost doubled his tally just a minute later when he struck from 20 yards and forced Cairns into a superb save when the ball looked like it was sailing into the far corner.

On 16 minutes, another good corner was headed just over by Jake Beesley as Dale continued to knock on the door.

With half an hour played, Dooley and Done linked up brilliantly down the left and Dooley's cross found Keohane at the back stick but his header was easily saved.

Dooley again did well down the left and this time found a clever ball through to Newby who struck from a tight angle but it was straight at Cairns.

This isn't biased reporting by the way, Fleetwood had literally created nothing at this point!

In fact their first chance of the game fell to Paddy Madden but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Paul McShane.

The half came to a close and Dale took a well deserved 1-0 lead into the break. Jake Beesley had been superb up front on his own and worked his knackers off all half while the likes of Done and Dooley had done really well also.

More of the same please for the second half Dale and not the usual slow start to the second half!

Dale didn't come out with quite the same tempo and you could see Fleetwood were going to have more of the ball throughout the half though the first chance of the half did fall to Dale as Matt Done swung in a free kick that clipped the top of the bar and went out for a goalkick.

For all the Fleetwood possession, they weren't creating much and Dale again went close on the hour mark as a corner ended up falling to Dooley on the edge of the box and his shot was inches wide of the left post.

A couple of minutes later and Dale fans will have been screaming at their screens as a Newby shot was blocked by an arm in the box in what looked like a clear penalty. Again, the referee waved it away and I've no idea why!

The game started getting a bit niggly. Glenn Whelan should have been booked for sything down Matt Done over on the left but the referee didn't even give a free kick. Bizarre! What did he even see there to think it wasn't a blatant yellow or a free kick?! Oliver Rathbone took out one of the Fleetwood lads not long after right in front of the odious Joey Barton.

With 77 minutes gone, the Fleetwood possession finally paid off. A sloppy goal to concede really as a cross from the left found substitute Harvey Saunders and he swept his shot into the goal and Bazunu should have done better really. He got a hand to it but it was a weak stop and the ball ended up past him.

Bazunu had a really hairy few minutes as well, he dropped one out of the sky straight to a Fleetwood foot and it took a brilliant goal-line clearance from O'Connell to save the young keeper's blushes. He also spilled a shot shortly afterwards.

With five minutes left and Dale looking knackered but lacking options, BBM brought on Fabio Tavares for Alex Newby. Fabio was straight into the action as he latched onto a geat through ball from Rathbone but went down in the box and was just too weak really.

With time running out, Dale were still creating chances and another brilliant cross from Keohane found Lund steaming in at the back post and his header was brilliantly saved by Cairns to keep the score level.

With stoppage time approaching fast, the substitution of Tavares proved to be a work of genius as he made it 2-1! A Matt Done shot was spilled by Cairns and Fabio Tavares was on hand to put the ball into the back of the net to send the watching Dale fans into raptures in their living rooms! We were gonna win a game!!

Stoppage time came and went and Dale won the match. Nobody gave us a chance! I didn't give us a chance I know that much. Actually, my 7 year old was asked what score it was going to be before kick off and he said 2-1 to Rochdale. We thought he was talking rubbish! But a hard working performance paid off and Dale got off the mark for the season. Who expected us to have 4 points from league games against Swindon, Portsmouth, Ipswich and Fleetwood? Nope, nobody! Get in!

Player Ratings:

Gavin Bazunu - 5 (Sloppy today and should have done better for the goal and nearly cost us another)

Jimmy Keohane - 7 (Excellent again and on another day, could have had 3 assists)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Defended well throughout)

Paul McShane - 7 (Defended well through out and put in a tremendous block to stop Madden)

Matt Done - 7 (Well played again from Done, linked up really well with Dooley down the left and put in the corner for Lund's opener)

Aaron Morley - 6 (Did well in a very deep role, he was almost dropping deeper than the centre backs at times)

MATT LUND - 8 (Outstanding again from Lund. Grabbed a goal, almost had two more and bossed the midfield)

Oliver Rathbone - 7 (Drove forward with the ball really well and really worked hard)

Stephen Dooley - 7 (Linked up with Done on the left and put in one of his better performances in a Dale shirt)#

Alex Newby - 6 (Tried to run with the ball when he could but the chances he created for himself were weak)

Jake Beesley - 8 (As hard working a solo striking performance since the days of Holt I thought. Really impressed me and how he didn't win that penalty I will never know)


Fabio Tavares - 7 (Scored the winner! Scenes!)

Photo: Action Images

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