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Match Report: Accrington Stanley 2-1 Rochdale
Saturday, 10th Oct 2020 17:40 by Chaff

Dale came back down to earth following last weeks win with a poor 2-1 defeat away at John Coleman's Accrington Stanley despite taking the lead.

Rochdale made one change to the starting eleven with Gavin Bazunu away on international duty with Ireland U21's, Jay Lynch replacing the on-loan keeper between the sticks. Our newest recruit, Tolaji Bola, on loan from Arsenal, started on the bench. Jay Lynch was in goal, Jimmy Keohane and Matty Done at full back with Eoghan O'Connell and Paul McShane in the centre of defence. A midfield line-up of Aaron Morley, Matt Lund Ollie Rathbone and Stephen Dooley while Alex Newby played off Jake Beesley up front. The bench looked a fair bit stronger than recent weeks with the likes of Ryan McLaughlin and Jimmy Ryan returning to the squad. They took their bench spots alongside sup-keeper Ben Chalton, Jim McNulty, Tolaji Bola, Ethan Brierley and last week's hero Fabio Tavares.

To say the first half was poor would be quite the understatement. Totally devoid of quality. The most notable thing really was a big sign behind Lynch's goal that said "COLEMAN IS GOD", I respectfully disagree!

With just less than 10 minutes gone, Colby Bishop went close for the home side as he turned and hit an effort on goal but Jay Lynch did superbly to tip it over the bar to keep the score level.

One noticeable thing was the fact that Aaron Morley was dropping as deep as our centre halves to come and get the ball and get the ball moving as Accrington dominated possession.

Accrington's game plan seemed to be to get balls into the box and put pressure on our centre halves and keeper and one such attempt saw Accrington's towering centre back Skyes get on the end of a cross but his header looped over the net.

Just a minute later and Dale had their first attempt on goal as Ollie Rathbone hammered a low effort on target which Toby Savin did well to keep out. This was following some good work from Newby who then laid off to Rathbone.

That was about it for the first half as the sides went in level. The iFollow team mentioned that the pitch looked very good when to me it looked better than Accrington's usual standard of playing surface but was still bobbly and looked very difficult to play on.

Dale made a substitution at half time, presumably forced, as McShane came off for McNulty. It's not a substitution you'd make unless you absolutely had to.

Accrington had a freekick which was hit not far wide just after the restart and not long after, Ollie Rathbone lost possession far too easily trying to turn back and Russell should have done better having got his shot away but it was easy for Lynch.

Dale did begin to get back into the game though and with 53 minutes gone, Jimmy Keohane gave Dale the lead. A hopefully ball to the back post from Alex Newby evaded everyone apart from Keohane who arrived at the back post to get his second goal of the season, and his second ever Dale goal. The Dale lead was arguably undeserved as this was only Dale's second attempt on goal!

Beesley was getting more into the game and Dale began to get the ball in advanced areas more but less than ten minutes after taking the lead, Accrington were level. The dangerous Pritchard got the ball on the right and curled a cross into the back post in a similar fashion to our goal but this time it evaded everyone and went straight in. Dooley couldn't get in front of him quick enough to stop the cross and Accrington were back on level terms.

And as we've seen far too many times, when we concede one, we concede another not long after! Just two minutes later, we were behind. Matty Lund was beaten far too easily on the left side by Pritchard and his low ball across found Russell in the box and he guided the ball into the back of the net with Lynch rooted to his spot again.

Dale did try and add more pressure to get back into the game and went close on 70 minutes through Jake Beesley. A shot from distance from Lund found Beesley in the box but he couldn't guide it past Savin in the Accy net.

Stephen Dooley was rightly brought off on 71 minutes and replaced by Ryan McLaughlin who went out to the right wing with Keohane staying at right back though the Dale goalscorer was also brought off five minutes later for Fabio Tavares.

Pritchard went close for the home side with ten minutes left but his effort flew wide after he'd cut in from the left.

Dale continued to push forward and an Aaron Morley corner was headed over by Matt Lund.

As Dale entered stoppage time, they were throwing everything at getting an equaliser and I thought we'd done it when a superb ball in from Newby was headed inches wide by Rathbone who was unmarked 12 yards out. That was the chance and it had gone.

The game ended 2-1 to Accrington and Dale will be gutted with this. There were positives for sure but these are the games you'd expect Dale will be expecting to get something from. Accrington have started well but you'd put them on a much similar level to us than the Portsmouth's, Sunderland's and Ipswich's of this world and we will have expected to get something today.

Player Ratings:

Jay Lynch - 6 (Doesn't give you as much confidence as a Bazunu but couldn't do much with either goal)

Jimmy Keohane - 7 (Scored the goal and put his usual steady shift in)

Matt Done - 6 (Visibly tired at the end and looked sluggish at times)

Eoghan O'Connell - 6 (Tried to get the ball moving as much as possible)

Paul McShane - 6 (Forced off at half time)

Aaron Morley - 6 (Better than recent performances, his balls in were much better and looked to start every move)

Matt Lund - 6 (Not up to last weeks standards and was beaten far too easily for the second goal)

Ollie Rathbone - 6 (Worked very hard but lost possession too much turning down blind alleys, has to score the chance at the end as well)

Stephen Dooley - 4 (Poor, wasteful in possession and just doesn't contribute enough for me)

ALEX NEWBY - 7 (My MOTM today by a distance. Easily our most creative player, gave us the assist and easily his best showing for Dale)

Jake Beasley - 5 (Anonymous first half but got more into the game second and should have scored)


Jim McNulty - 6 (Did alright replacing McShane)
Ryan McLaughlin - 6 (Did alright on his return)
Fabio Tavares - 6 (Gave the ball away a couple of times but difficult game to get into)

Photo: Action Images

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