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Rochdale 1 v 2 Forest Green Rovers
SkyBet League Two
Tuesday, 17th August 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Rochdale 1-2 Forest Green Rovers
Tuesday, 17th Aug 2021 23:23 by Chaff

Another frustrating night game for Dale saw us on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline against early league-leaders Forest Green Rovers at Spotland.

Forest Green took the lead before Dale equalised through Alex Newby, but the lead lasted about 20 seconds as Forest Green went straight up the other end to get what turned out to be the winner. Dale weren’t without chances and could, and probably should have come away with a point from the game.

There were a couple of changes to the team but the 3 at the back remained. There was no George Broadbent in the squad and Danny Cashman dropped to the bench as Stephen Dooley and Abraham Odoh returned to the starting eleven. Jim McNulty, Aidy White and Conor Grant were still missing due to covid isolation rules and Dale only named six on the bench. Manager Robbie Stockdale confirmed after the game that Broadbent had also tested positive with covid and now misses out for a while.

Dale started the game quite well I thought but failed to create anything of note. Jake Beesley had a chance deflected past the post and Morley hit a freekick into the wall but that was about it.

Jake Beesley challenged for a cross with McGee in the Forest Green net but was on the end of the keeper’s fist in what looked like an awful collision. Beesley was Dale for several minutes receiving treatment before he decided he was going to try and carry on but this didn’t last too long and he had to be replaced on 24 minutes with the 6’6, on-loan Birmingham City striker, Josh Andrews coming on for his Rochdale debut.

Matt Done had a shot held by the keeper after being well picked out by Odoh but it was the visitors who took the lead on 33 minutes. Unfortunately, I can’t describe the goal as I’d taken my lad to the toilet and therefore missed the goal but upon getting back to my spot, I was told that Matt Done committed to a challenge that he was never going to make which allowed Jamille Matt in to finish well. We never seem to be able to handle him do we?!

Dale tried to get back into it and should really have done better, twice through Aaron Morley. Good link-up play on both occasions saw the ball fall for Morley on the edge of the area and both times he drove the ball wide of the goal when he really should have made the keeper work.

With the 5 minutes of stoppage time up, Dale went in 1-0 down at the break.

Forest Green started the half well at could easily have doubled their lead, in fact they really should have. A corner came in from the right and somehow, Matt Stevens was left all alone at the back post and his header hit the post. A real let off for Dale.

Just a minute later and Dale capitalised on that miss and got themselves back in the game through the “Chorley Cruyff” Alex Newby. A good left footed ball in from Stephen Dooley was headed back across goal by Josh Andrews and found its way to Newby who smashed the ball into the roof of the net for his second goal of the season.

One of the most annoying traits Dale have had over the past season or so is a lack of concentration when they score. This looks like it’s still around as no sooner had Forest Green kicked the game off after the goal, they found themselves back in front through Matt Stevens. I have no idea if anyone was at fault from a Dale perspective as it all happened so bloody quickly, but Stevens managed to get in a hit the ball past Lynch into the far corner to make it 2-1 to Forest Green.

Dale went in search of the equaliser and did have some glorious chances to score. The first came through Odoh. Despite getting the Man of the Match from the sponsors, I thought Odoh struggled to get into the game much and nothing came off for him, anyway I digress a touch. He found himself through on goal and his effort was brilliantly saved by McGee who managed to push it onto the post to keep Rovers ahead.

Josh Andrews glanced a header wide of the far post not long afterwards and from my angle I thought it was going in.

Forest Green were still looking dangerous on the counter attack and their right side were giving Done a torrid time, attacking at pace whenever they could. Max Taylor, who I was impressed by tonight, put in a wonderful block to prevent the visitors going further ahead.

Aaron Morley put a great ball through which set Corey O’Keeffe away and his first touch was decent, but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Cadden, not once but twice. How he didn’t score is beyond me.

A change I’d been calling for was made by Stockdale when Sam Graham was brought off for Danny Cashman as Dale went to a back four and looked to attack.

There was a lengthy stoppage when Andrews did the old Harry Kane trick of bending over in front of the oncoming defender and the defender, Godwin-Malife went down awkwardly and had to be stretchered off. This meant the stoppage time added was 9 minutes by the fourth official.

Dale huffed and puffed and just could get that break through and went down 2-1.

A frustrating performance really which saw good spells and bad spells where we couldn’t keep hold of the ball. We seem to be lacking character and leadership in the side at the minute. I’m looking around and I’m not seeing a player I think can grab the game by the scruff of the neck and use their experience to dictate the game. Stockdale has alluded to still wanting a couple of players in and I’d bet one is an experienced midfielder who can help with that leadership and experience that this young squad is lacking. This is very much a work in progress and given the overhaul we’ve seen, we need to show patience.

Dale take on Northampton Town at Sixfields on Saturday.


PLAYER RATINGS:

Jay Lynch – 6 (Did alright again I thought)

Corey O’Keeffe – 7 (Got forward well and how he didn’t score I don’t know)

Sam Graham – 6 (Did ok overall, looks raw but will get better with experience)

Max Taylor – 7 (Thought he was our best defender by a distance. One mistake aside in the second half I thought he did really well)

Eoghan O’Connell – 6 (Did ok but a couple of shaky moments I thought)

Matty Done – 6 (Had a hard time with their right side but did try and get forward)

Aaron Morley – 6 (Should have hit the target at least but I want to see more from him)

Stephen Dooley – 6 (No major mistakes but I do want him to get forward more. Good cross in the build up to the goal)

Abraham Odoh – 5 (Got the sponsors MOTM and I’ve no idea how. Had a glorious change and although he worked hard, not much came off for him and I thought he struggled)

ALEX NEWBY – 7 (Probably just the goal that got him the nod for my MOTM over Taylor but a good start to the season for the “Chorley Cruyff”

Jake Beesley – 6 (Replaced early on after having his head punched off)


SUBS:

Josh Andrews – 6 (Needs to be more dominant in the air for his size but noticed they struggled to cope with him and he was in need of players playing off him)

Danny Cashman – 6 (Not really on long enough to have an impact)

Photo: Action Images



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_Windydale added 00:00 - Aug 18
I thought Odoh looked lively and was our most attack-minded player. Pretty good in possession and control. He got forward to stretch the defence when he could. He nearly scored too and also won a few headers to say he's not the tallest. A couple of times he held onto the ball too long and lost it though. 6.8/10
1

D_Alien added 12:07 - Aug 18
Don't usually post in this section, but your comments on Odoh are a very long way off the mark.

Report: 4/10
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