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Rochdale 1 v 1 Bristol Rovers
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 31st October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Rochdale 1-1 Bristol Rovers
Saturday, 31st Oct 2020 17:11 by Chaff

Dale had to settle for a point at home to Bristol Rovers. Dale went behind early on before Alex Newby equalised for Dale.

Bristol Rovers were the visitors to Spotland today, just like they were on the same weekend last year. I only know that because I was reminded that it was the same fixture as when my lad was mascot last year. We’ve got similar weather this year as well by the looks of it with the rain battering down and putting our new pitch to the test.

BBM decided to go with the same eleven that played so well on Tuesday night in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland which meant we had 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 playing off Jake Beesley. The bench consisted of the returning Jay Lynch, Jim McNulty, Jimmy Keohane, Matt Done, Stephen Dooley, Ethan Brierley and Fabio Tavares.

Boris Johnson was due to give a public announcement at 4pm with a national lockdown being expected but he pushed this back to 5pm, probably knowing that nobody wants to listen to his idiotic ramblings while football was on. A frightening prospect on Halloween in a year that has been a complete nightmare from the start!

The first thing of note was the ridiculous decision to let Bristol Rovers play in their home kit which was a kit clash with Dale’s black and blue kit. Bristol Rovers away kit is black with yellow pinstripes and surely that was the better option? The best option would possibly be for us to play in the mint green away kit and Rovers to play in their away kit but this looked ridiculous.

The second thing of note was that iFollow, again, had issues from the start. The minutes silence for Nobby Stiles ended up being the longest minute in history as the screen froze for everyone and despite us being to hear the iFollow commentary, it was a good couple of minutes with no picture before it came back on.

The game started with a fast pace but Bristol Rovers went 1-0 up with just 8 minutes gone. Jimmy Ryan turned into trouble and was dispossessed too easily and Sam Nicholson had plenty of space to run into and blast the ball past Bazunu to give the visitors the lead. There seemed to be far too much space for Nicholson to run through, probably due to the positioning of the two centre backs and Dale paid the price.

Almost straight from the restart, Dale went down the other end and won a free kick. Aaron Morley swung the ball in and Beasley could only head over from close range.

Alex Newby was almost left red faced as well when he was messing about with it near his own box and had the ball taken off him but thankfully it was cleared.

Matty Lund had a shot from the edge of the box easily saved by the Bristol Rovers keeper in what had become an action packed first quarter of an hour.
A well worked corner resulted in Ryan McLaughlin having an effort from the edge of the box but his effort was high, wide and not very handsome.

With 25 minutes gone, Dale went level! A great route one ball from Eoghan O’Connell found Alex Newby in space and he finished brilliantly past Jaakkola in the Rovers net for his third of the season in all competition. It was another great reaction to going behind again from Dale.

Aaron Morley hit the crossbar from about 35 yards out with an audacious effort that almost left the keeper embarrassed but luckily for him it hit the top of the bar and bounced out for a goal kick.

Rathbone hit a curling effort over the bar via a deflection after some good hold-up play from Beesley. The resulting corner saw Haydon Roberts have a powerful volley blocked when it looked goal bound before O’Connell shot over the bar from the rebound.

Bristol Rovers hadn’t offered much at all really and Dale had been the better side and must have been annoyed to be going in level really. It was a really poor goal to concede but Dale were the only side that looked like scoring from then. The half time stats backed that up as well as we’d had more possession and double the amount of efforts on goal.

We had to build on this in the second half.

The teams emerged for the second half with no kit changes. The rumbling noise you may have been able to hear will have been 442Dale going absolutely mental!

With less than five minutes of the second half gone and Dale were forced into a change with Jimmy Ryan limping off injured. He was replaced by Stephen Dooley.

The visitors had started the second half brightly with Dale barely able to get out of their own half in the early stages of the second with Hanlon causing all sorts of problems for the Dale defence.

Dale should have been ahead on 54 minutes when a wonderful ball from Morley found Eoghan O’Connell at the back post, he controlled it and had to score but he hit it over the bar from close range. A great chance for Dale to take the lead.

Gavin Bazunu was called into action with a superb save to keep out Zain Westbrooke from distance.

Ryan McLaughlin must have pissed the referee off somehow as he was fouled on a number of occasions and not been given a free kick at any point much to our annoyance.

Dale should have had a penalty on 76 minutes when Bola was bundled over in the box but the referee again waved it away. Looked absolutely stonewall to me.

At the other end, Bazunu was again forced into another good save from a shot from the edge of the box, maybe a bit further. Another fine stop in a half where Rovers had got much more into the game and looked just as likely to get a winner as we did.

Fabio Tavares came on for Aaron Morley to try and give Dale more attacking options. I thought he may come on for Rathbone as it had just not been his day today.

Jimmy Keohane came on for Ryan McLaughlin as well a couple of minutes later as Dale used their third and final substitution.

Dale should have gone ahead when Alex Newby found Bola with a good cross and Bola headed harmlessly over when he had to hit the target. Another wasted opportunity for Rochdale.

The 90 minute mark was approaching and it was still finely balanced though Jimmy Keohane had an effort sale over the bar with his left foot having cut inside the box from the right.

Three minutes of stoppage time was held up as Dale pushed for a winner but Dale had to settle for a point. A poor second half performance in all honesty after being the better side first half. I’d look at that as two points dropped unfortunately but four unbeaten and eight points from those four games is still a good return.


Gavin Bazunu - 7 (Couple of very good saves and did well)

Ryan McLaughlin - 6 (Kept getting clattered but the referee was having none of it)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Defensively very good for the most part)

HAYDON ROBERTS - 7 (My Man of the Match, thought he looked superb on the ball and did really well)

Tolaji Bola - 6 (Touch wasteful today I thought, especially second half)

Aaron Morley - 5 (Couple of mistakes left us open to attack, just not started the season brilliantly has he)

Jimmy Ryan - 5 (Poor for their goal and was taken off injured early in the second half)

Matty Lund - 6 (Did ok but not as impressive as the last couple of games)

Ollie Rathbone - 5 (Just not his day today)

Alex Newby - 7 (Our most creative player again and another goal, contender for man of the match)

Jake Beesley - 7 (Another workhorse like performance, just needs to start converting some of the chances he gets (copy and paste this every week think) )


Stephen Dooley - 5 (I just don’t see it with him)
Fabio Tavares - 6 (Didn’t have much impact)
Jimmy Keohane – 6 (Did alright after coming on for McLaughlin)

Photo: Action Images

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