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Shrewsbury Town 1 v 2 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 24th October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 1-2 Rochdale
Saturday, 24th Oct 2020 17:50 by Chaff

Another away trip and another away win! Dale came back from Shrewsbury with three more points thanks to goals from Rathbone and Newby.

Dale were coming into the game on the back of a valuable away win at Burton Albion and were looking to build on that. After a very tough start to the season, this fixture and the Burton game were games against teams a lot closer to our level. The win at Burton had given us hope, and possibly even an expectation that we could come away from Shropshire with at least a point, maybe three. Even the 7 year old in the house predicted a 1-0 Rochdale win! Away wins are rare, back to back away wins are like rocking horse crap!

Dale were also boosted by captain Eoghan O'Connell returning to the team following illness (there are more illnesses than Covid after all). Jim McNulty made way for O'Connell despite having a good game deputising on Tuesday. Dale lined up with Gavin Bazunu in net, Jimmy Keohane at right back, Tolaji Bola at left back with Haydon Roberts and Eoghan O'Connell at centre back. Aaron Morley and Jimmy Ryan were sitting deep in the middle of the pitch with Matty Lund and Ollie Rathbone slightly more advanced with Alex Newby playing off Jake Beesley. The bench was made up of Ben Chalton, Ryan McLaughlin, Harrison Hopper, Ethan Brierley, Jim McNulty, Matt Done and Fabio Tavares.

Dale had the better of the play from the start and the first chance of the game fell to the visitors. Some great work by Jimmy Ryan set Tolaji Bola away and his cross was header over by Ollie Rathbone of all people.

Just a minute later and Dale had a brilliant chance and one they really should have taken. Another great ball from Jimmy Ryan found Beesley on the right and he brilliantly laid the ball off to the oncoming Alex Newby. Newby, one on one with the keeper, dragged his effort well wide when he absolutely had to hit the target. A great chance and it looked like Newby got a bit of a bollocking off Lund for the wasted effort.

Shrewsbury began to get back into the game and had a lot more of the ball after a slow start. Former Bury big earner Leon Clarke went close with a header from a corner. Clarke easily outjumped Keohane in what looked like a bit of a mismatch and should have done better really.

I mentioned Shrewsbury were having a lot more of the ball and Dale couldn't keep it at all but the next time they did manage to venture forward, they took full advantage! With just over 20 minutes gone, Dale took a 1-0 lead! A wonderful left footed cross from Jimmy Keohane was headed home by Ollie Rathbone for his first goal of the season.

Shrewsbury managed to create a couple of half chances when a Leon Clarke header was easy for Bazunu to take and then Pierre hit a rather ambitious effort from about 35 yards way up into the stand.

Dale went agonisingly close to doubling their lead when a good corner from Aaron Morley was headed goalwards by Lund just wide of the post. It may have even got a slight touch from Beesley before going wide.

Just three minutes later and Dale DID double their lead. A long ball forward was flicked on superbly by Matty Lund into the path of Newby who was one on one again but this time more calm and composed and finished past the keeper to make it 2-0 to Dale with ten minutes of the half left. It looked offside but without VAR, read it in the paper as TVOS used to say to me!

Shrewsbury continued to attack and had a couple of dangerous set pieces. The signing of Charlie Daniels from Bournemouth was a real eye opening move yesterday and he was taking every set piece Shrewsbury had an to be fair, he was starting to cause havoc with his deliveries. One such one saw Pierre get on the end of it and rattle the cross bar with a couple of minutes left as Dale had to soak up the pressure.

They couldn't hold on anymore as the next delivery from Daniels was headed past Bazunu into the net and it was the dangerous Pierre again on the end of it to make it 2-1, just as the half time whistle loomed.

Dale went in ahead at the break but the goal before half time was a sickener and hopefully we would not let that have to much of an effect.

Shrewsbury started the second half as they ended the first with lots of the ball and trying to get back level. Scott High hit it high as he got he rebound from another Daniels corner.

Aaron Morley was our set piece specialist and he had a couple of chances to swing free kicks in. The first came after one of the most ridiculous handballs you'll ever see from Fossey but that set piece was floated in far too close to the keeper whereas the second, from a wider angle was closer but ended up on the roof of the net and out for a goalkick.

Another Daniels corner found Pierre with twenty minutes left but Pierre headed into the ground and the ball bounced over the bar thankfully.

Alex Newby, despite the goal, had struggled a touch, especially second half to keep possession and he was taken off on 71 minutes and made way for Ryan McLaughlin who went in a more attacking role than we're used to seeing him in.

Dale were forced into another substitution just a few minutes later. Jake Beesley had been battered and bruised all game and he collided with Fossey unintentionally on both parts but Beesley came off much worse and had blood pouring from his head and was forced to come off. Jim McNulty came on for him which saw Dale revert to a back three, something we mentioned could be a possibility on the podcast given the players we have. There was evidently going to be a lot of stoppage time added on as well.

From then on it became attack v defence effectively with Dale operating without anyone playing up front. The ball kept coming at the Dale defence and it was taking a lot of hard work by the defence and midfield to keep out the home side.

Gavin Bazunu pulled off a stunning save from a Fossey header which I thought was in but somehow the young keeper kept it out.

With Shrewsbury unable to break through as we headed to the 90 minute mark, the fourth official held up 8 minutes on his board and those 8 minutes would feel like an hour!

Dale brought on Matt Done for Jimmy Ryan so we at least had one player in an attacking position to aim for.

Another dangerous set piece from Daniels was headed over and the nail biting continued until the referee eventually, having actually played 9 minutes of stoppage time, blew the whistle to end the game.

Another win on the road and another valuable three points for Dale. Back to back away wins as well which I certainly didn't see coming but are so very welcome.

Get in there!

PLAYER RATINGS:

Gavin Bazunu - 7 (Stunning save late on but also came for a cross he got nowhere near)

Jimmy Keohane - 7 (Typical Jimmy performance, never lets us down)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Stood strong under the onslaught and I feel much better now he's back)

Haydon Roberts - 7 (Another good performance from the youngster)

Tolaji Bola - 7 (See above)

Aaron Morley - 7 (Better from Morley today, wasn't the focal point as much for long ball's forward it seemed)

Jimmy Ryan - 7 (Another really good performance from Ryan again I thought)

MATTY LUND - 8 (Thought Lund was outstanding today. Good assist and a real presence in midfield)

Ollie Rathbone - 7 (Another good performance from Ollie I thought (sorry Ryan), fought well and got a headed goal!)

Alex Newby - 6 (Would have been 5 but for the goal that ended up being the winner!)

Jake Beesley - 7 (Absolute work horse and his hold up play was superb, especially first half but went off with a nasty cut)

Subs:

McLaughlin - 6 (Did alright when it was attack v defence!)
McNulty - 7 (Solid at the back under immense pressure)
Done - 6 (Only on a couple of minutes)Done - 6 (Only on a couple of minutes)

Photo: Action Images



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