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Rochdale 2 v 2 Sunderland
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 27th October 2020 Kick-off 19:45
richfoad32 added 23:56 - Oct 27
After a week that saw two fantastic hard fought away victories push them towards mid table, Dale were back home at the Crown Oil Arena under the lights, to face fallen 'giants' Sunderland. They were hoping that the confidence from those six points gleaned would lead to a much improved performance from their last time out at home, a rather meek surrender against the Black Cats fellow promotion favourites, Hull City.

There was one change from Saturday's win at Shrewsbury. Ryan McLaughlin coming in at right back for Mr. Dependable, Jimmy Keohane. Jake Beesley started up front, doing his best impersonation of Terry Butcher after literally spilling blood for the cause against the Shrews.

The heavy rain throughout the day had subsided by kick off and despite justified concerns, the pitch looked in tremendous condition. Dale started much the better of the two teams and used the slick surface to play the ball around confidently as they probed for an opening. The only real chance of note came from a Rathbone effort from the edge of the box that was deflected, taking all the sting out of the shot and producing a comfortable save from Burge. Then from their first real attack Sunderland took the lead. Gooch twisted and turned on the left, getting away from both Morley and McLaughlin before delivering a perfect cross for Charlie Wyke to head nonchalantly past Bazunu.

Any fears that Dale's resolve would crumble after going behind against the run of play were unfounded as they came straight back at the Black Cats. Ten minutes after going behind, they were level with an almost identical goal to their opponent's opener. Some good work and trickery from Newby to work an opening and he swung the ball into the box for the onrushing Matty Lund to plant a header into the corner for his third goal of the young season.

Dale continued to press and harry their more illustrious opponent's all over the pitch and Beesley really should've done better when swivelling to sky a shot over the crossbar from a sitting position following a scramble in the Sunderland goalmouth. Then on 39 minutes the Black Cats retook the lead after Dale failed to clear a free kick, danger man Gooch had a shot cum cross deflected across the box, Bailey Wright got a touch with his head and it squirmed past Bazunu into the corner of the net. Another sucker punch approaching half time but Dale again showed a steel that has become more evident over the last few games, hitting back to level a minute before the break. More good work from Newby on the right, his cross was touched back by Rathbone for 'Goal Machine' Matty Lund to slot home.

2-2 at the interval then and a thoroughly enthralling half of football, parity was the least Dale deserved after going toe to toe with one of League One's 'big boys'.

It was perhaps to much of an ask for Dale to keep up the same levels of performance and energy in the second half and Sunderland started to impose themselves on the match. Chris Maguire had a quickfire double effort, his volley attempt being blocked before he flashed the rebound across the face of the goal. Charlie Wyke also had an optimistic penalty shout waved away after a clumsy challenge from Bola, the referee deciding he'd too much of a meal of a slight nudge in the back. From a rare Dale foray forward, Ollie Rathbone was cynically hacked down by Sanderson as he burst through, earning a yellow card for the Sunderland man but it was the visitors who looked increasingly more likely to find a winner.

The last ten minutes saw Dale look out on their feet. Bazunu scrambled to his right to keep out a header from Wyke before a heart stopping moment for the (watching and listening at) home fans in the 87th minute when the wonderfully named Max Power crashed a shot against the underside of the bar. Bazunu doing well to recover and safely clutch Danny Graham's header from the rebound.

Despite a seemingly interminable amount of injury time, Dale clung on for a richly deserved point. Perhaps not quite as convincing in the second half but for the third game in a row they showed they were up for the battle when under the cosh. They look like a team that is really coming together and with some key players due back in the coming weeks they can rightly start to look up the table instead of over their shoulder. A great past week with which they can be rightfully proud.

Ratings (for what it's worth)

BAZUNU- Should've done better for Sunderland's second. Several decent saves and save handling though. 6/10
BOLA- one clumsy challenge on Wyke in the box aside, defended well. Delivery when he gets forward still a bit hit or miss but I like him. 7/10
O'CONNELL- Captain Cool. Looks unruffled and can dig in when required too. A class above League One. 7/10
ROBERTS- Another calm head alongside O'Connell, has slotted in seamlessly and we haven't missed McShane at all. 7/10
MCLAUGHLIN- Perhaps too easily beaten by Gooch for Sunderland's opener, recovered to have a solid game. Still causes Dale fans palpitations when he struggles to recover from even the most innocuous looking challenges. 6/10
RYAN- Excellent first half, faded slightly in the second. Subbed. 7/10
RATHBONE- 150th appearance for Rochdale, would like to think there might be 150 more but too many more like this one and it won't be long before the bigger boys come sniffing around again. Drove Dale forward and never stopped running. Unsurprisingly out on his feet at the end. 8/10
MORLEY- Decent game and fully played his part when Dale were under the cosh in the second half. Maddeningly inconsistent set pieces were mostly on point tonight. 7/10
LUND: Really coming into his own after a slow start to the season and a brace of goals to boot. 8/10
NEWBY: Great skill to provide the crosses for both Dale goals in the first half, anonymous in the second. Still made a solid start to life at a higher level. Subbed. 6/10
BEESLEY: Willing to play and put himself about whilst bandaged up. Never stops running and making himself a nuisance to the opposition, just needs a goal now. Like Newby, another player who has made the step up to a higher level of football look seamless.

SUBS McNulty and Done. Neither had enough time on the pitch to have a serious impact. 6/10

I hope I haven't been too harsh on anyone, really everybody played their part in what has been a terrific week for the Dale and can be rightly proud.


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Your Report

5 SepSunderland CCA0 - 00
8 SepSunderland A8 - 10
12 SepSunderland A1 - 10
19 SepOxford United A0 - 20
26 SepSunderland A1 - 00

3 OctCharlton A0 - 00
6 OctSunderland A5 - 30
17 OctSwindon A0 - 20
20 OctSunderland A1 - 00
24 OctSunderland A1 - 30
27 OctRochdale A2 - 21
31 OctGillingham A0 - 20

3 NovSunderland A2 - 10
7 NovSunderland FACA0 - 10
10 NovFleetwood A2 - 10
14 NovSunderland A1 - 20
21 NovDoncaster A1 - 10
24 NovFleetwood A0
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