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Match Preview: Crewe vs Rochdale
Friday, 23rd Apr 2021 13:52 by AtThePeake

Can Dale build on a trio of consecutive home wins to keep their survival hopes alive as they head to Gresty Road on Saturday?

Date: Saturday 24th April
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Venue: Gresty Road

In what has been one of the strangest ever seasons to be a Rochdale AFC supporter, could the team pull off a remarkable great escape act right at the very death? Honestly, who would put it past them?

Having gone six months without picking up a victory at Spotland, Dale make the trip to Gresty Road on Saturday afternoon on the back of a trio of consecutive home wins in which they have produced increasingly impressive performances against Swindon Town, Accrington Stanley and Blackpool.

Unfortunately however, we may have left it too late. Wins for several of our relegation rivals on Tuesday night meant that the unexpected but hard-fought victory over the Seasiders on Tuesday didn't change the picture at the bottom of the table too much and Dale are still five points away from clambering to safety.

The other frustrating aspect of these victories for supporters has been the clear changes in playing style that many have been asking for throughout the campaign. Three at the back, occasionally going long from the goalkeeper, intensity and pressing high up the pitch - these are things that fans on this very website have called for all season long.

And who knows? Had they come slightly earlier, then perhaps Dale wouldn't have found themselves in this position, not only scrapping for every point but needing other teams to drop them in order to clamber out of the relegation zone.

But, at least, there has been plenty to enjoy for Dale fans in these three matches. More attacking ingenuity and creativity, some real hard-working efforts from the likes of Jake Beesley and Ollie Rathbone and a defensive solidity created by a back three that now seems to have gelled together very well as we enter the final stages of the season.

Keeping that same intensity up against the likes of Crewe Alexandra and Doncaster Rovers in these final few games could lead to more points, but in reality most Dale fans will simply be hoping that the side can keep the fight alive on Saturday before the game against Wimbledon at Plough Lane on Tuesday.

With six points separating the two teams and Dale possessing a slightly better goal difference, a win in that game could change the picture significantly - but the Dons are on fire at the moment themselves and Dale can't afford to slip up in Cheshire before they make the trip to the capital.

Of course, it's just nice to have some wins to focus on and a little positivity in what has been a crazy few weeks of football, not just in the Dale boardroom but in those of the biggest clubs across the continent.

When we don't have the social aspect of watching the football live with family and friends, it can often feel that we are somewhat detached from the game and that has certainly felt the case for many of us over the last few weeks.

But in the midst of a relegation battle and with the team finally starting to show what they're capable of on the pitch, can Dale recapture our attention by clawing us out of the relegation zone in the coming weeks? We have everything crossed.

Blackpool (h) - WIN
Accrington Stanley (h) - WIN
Swindon Town (h) - WIN
Fleetwood Town (a) - LOSS
Ipswich Town (h) - DRAW

Crewe Alexandra:
Fleetwood (a) - WIN
Wigan (a) - LOSS
Portsmouth (h) - DRAW
Oxford (h) - LOSS
MK Dons (a) - WIN
DRAW: 25

02 Sep 2014 - Crewe Alexandra 0-3 Rochdale - Johnstones Paint Trophy
03 Mar 2015 - Rochdale 4-0 Crewe Alexandra - League One
06 Feb 2016 - Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Rochdale - League One
16 Feb 2016 - Rochdale 2-2 Crewe Alexandra - League One
09 Jan 2021 - Rochdale 3-3 Crewe Alexandra - League One

Photo: Action Images

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