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Rochdale 2 v 2 Sunderland
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 27th October 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Rochdale 2-2 Sunderland
Tuesday, 27th Oct 2020 22:33 by Chaff

Dale came from behind twice to come away with a point against Sunderland at Spotland thanks to two goals from Matty Lund.

Having won two on the bounce away from home against Burton and Shrewsbury, BBM’s men took on Sunderland at Spotland on a cold and wet Tuesday night. While we’d probably all have taken a point in the two away games, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the vast majority would have taken a point here as well.

I’d been up to the club today, taking my lad on the Halloween Tour (which was tremendous btw and the club deserve huge credit for organising all this), but being at the club on a match day and not being able to go to the game was a heart sinking feeling. The lines were literally being marked out in front of us ready for tonight and knowing we still couldn’t take our usual spot in the Sandy felt a bit s***e to be honest with you.

The team news came through about 7pm and the only change I could see was that joint top scorer Jimmy Keohane was a rare absentee from the starting eleven as Ryan McLaughlin came in for him. Perhaps due to the fact his brother, Connor McLaughlin was playing for the opposition. Aside from that it was the same team for Dale with Gavin Bazunu in net, Ryan McLaughlin at right back, Tolaji Bola at left back and skipper Eoghan O’Connell and Haydon Roberts at centre half. Aaron Morley, Jimmy Ryan and Matty Lund were in midfield with Alex Newby and Ollie Rathbone (making his 150th appearance) playing off Jake Beesley who had overcome a nasty cut on Saturday to play, albeit with a bandage round his head. The bench consisted of Ben Chalton, Jim McNulty, Jimmy Keohane, Matt Done, Harrison Hopper, Ethan Brierley and Fabio Tavares. Our bench two YTS lads on while Sunderland had the likes of Will Grigg, Grant Leadbitter and Danny Graham on their bench. A completely different world.

I wasn't sure I was gonna get to watch the start of the game as iFollow was having issues with loads of people seemingly struggling to get a live feed but eventually I managed to get on.

Dale got off to a good start to be fair and the game set off a quick pace and didn't seem to slow down at all first half. I thought it was on fast forward at one point! Dale created a couple of half chances as well with a Jimmy Ryan shot well blocked and Eoghan O'Connell turning a corner over the bar. A powerful Rathbone shot was deflected to make it easy for Burge in the Sunderland net as well. This was a really promising start.

That being said, Dale went 1-0 down on 14 minutes and it was all too easy. Gooch beat McLaughlin on the left wing to get a great cross in and Charlie Wyke rose above Haydon Roberts to head past Bazunu to give Sunderland the lead. It felt undeserved that but also such an easy goal.

I feared we'd lose our heads at this point and get soundly beaten but Dale responded brilliantly and were back on level terms on 25 minutes through Matt Lund. A brilliant ball in from Alex Newby was headed in by Lund for his third goal of the season. Game on again at 1-1!

In an incident I'd missed, Ryan McLaughlin was booked for taking too long over a throw in. Harsh but needless to say, his team mates weren't giving him many options.

Beesley had a great chance to get off the mark for Dale and give them the lead but he wasted an effort, hitting his shot over the bar from 12 yards out from a corner.

With half time just a few minutes away, Sunderland took the lead again. Another ball in from Gooch, took a couple of deflections before finding Bailey Wright in the box and he headed past Bazunu, or under him to be honest, despite calls for what looked like a clear offside. Bazunu should have done better really and was visibly frustrated with himself. Again, it felt undeserved.

Surely we wouldn't come back again, would we? You bet your arse we would. Again, we responded superbly to going behind and again, Newby and Lund were involved. Newby's cross found Rathbone who cleverley laid it off for Lund who slotted in his 4th of the season just before half time to make it 2-2. Further proof that really, all you need is Lund. Now that was deserved!

The second half was a very different story to the first in that it was a much slower pace and Dale just couldn't get hold of the ball.

We struggled to get any passing going and were really sloppy in possession whereas Sunderland had plenty of the ball but didn't force Bazunu into action until late on.

Jimmy Ryan and Ollie Rathone were booked for late challenges while two almost identical challenges by the visitors went unpunished which was frustrating.

With just over ten minutes left Sunderland's long spells of possession finally created something of note when Charlie Wyke again had the beating of our defence and headed goalwards but a fine save from Bazunu kept him out and kept the score level.

Dale were walking a bit of a tightrope here and inviting Sunderland to attack. Dale made changes with Matt Done coming on for Jimmy Ryan who was on a yellow while Jim McNulty came on for Alex Newby a few minutes later as Dale went to five at the back.

Just as that substitution was made, Sunderland had a golden chance to go ahead when Dobson rattled the cross bar with a powerful effort and the rebound fell to Sunderland substitute Danny Graham who tried to head it over Bazunu but the young keeper did really well to save and hold the header. A real let off for Dale who were looking absolutely dead on their feet.

Five minutes of stoppage time was held up by the fourth official.

In the last of those five minutes Ollie Rathbone struck a well hit free kick just wide of the post and for some reason the referee decided to play another minute on top of that but Dale managed to hold on for a point. A really impressive point as well. Seven points from three games is something nobody will have expected and has really given us something to build on. Bristol Rovers at home on Saturday will be another big test against a side more on our level.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Gavin Bazunu - 6 (Couple of very good saves but could possibly have done better with their second goal)

Ryan McLaughlin - 7 (Every time he goes down you think he's out for the season but he's a very good player when fit and showed that again tonight)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Defensively very good, especially second half)

Haydon Roberts - 7 (Another assured performance from the youngster, very comfortable on the ball)

Tolaji Bola - 7 (Seems to be getting better with every game)

Aaron Morley - 6 (Gave the ball away a lot but I guess he will do in that role he plays)

Jimmy Ryan - 6 (Hard working performance but lost possession a little too much)

MATTY LUND - 8 (Two more goals - Lund is all you need!)

Ollie Rathbone - 7 (Another very good performance from Ollie, effort is never in question but created a lot of openings)

Alex Newby - 7 (Involved in both goals and was superb first half)

Jake Beesley - 7 (Another workhorse like performance, just needs to start converting some of the chances he gets)

Subs:

Matt Done - 6 (Barely involved as Dale soaked up the pressure)
Jim McNulty - 6 (Not on long but effective in that back line for the remaining few minutes)

Photo: Action Images



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