Football: Rochdale 0 - 0 Oxford United
Date published: 16 December 2017
Rochdale v Oxford United
Rochdale were left frustrated as a resilient Oxford defence stood firm to earn a share of the spoils at a freezing cold Crown Oil Arena.
The visiting goalkeeper Simon Eastwood pulled off three very good saves to deny Dale what would have been a welcomed three points.
Steven Davies saw a powerful header pushed behind whilst Callum Camps was kept out twice by the keeper.
After the defeat at Bradford last weekend, Keith Hill made two changes to his starting eleven with Joe Bunney returning from illness whilst Steven Davies was given a rare start alongside Calvin Andrew in a front two.
Dale were certainly the better of the two sides throughout but just could not break through a well organised Oxford defence which has now gone almost 300 minutes without conceding a league goal.
Joe Bunney’s quickly taken corner gave space for a cross towards Davies at the back post but Eastwood got down well to push the ball behind for a corner.
Oxford’s only real chance of the first half saw James Henry and Wes Thomas link up well inside the Dale area but a superb block tackle from Donervon Daniels denied a clean strike on goal.
Rochdale had twelve corners in the game but could not break through with their best openings coming on the counter attack. One such breakaway saw Camps hit a powerful half volley which Eastwood somehow scrambled around the post when seemingly beaten.
Camps again warmed the hands of the visiting keeper just after the half hour with a fizzing 20-yard freekick which again was just about turned away by Eastwood.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Dale on top.
Joe Bunney’s cushioned volley was beaten away by Eastwood and Henderson’s follow up was wayward after the Dale captain had picked out a brilliant diagonal pass.
Lillis was a virtual spectator for the majority of the cold afternoon, although he had to be alert to save Wes Thomas’ deflected shot from inside the box.
Eastwood was certainly the star of the show for Oxford and even when he was beaten his defenders came to his aide.
Another Dale corner was punched away by the Oxford keeper only for Camps to send a header back at goal, beating the stricken keeper but not Williamson who headed clear off the line.
Dale tried to work an opening as the clock ticked down but the closest they came was a dangerous Bunney cross that nobody could get on the end of and the game ended in a stalemate.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, McGahey, Daniels, Bunney, Rathbone, Camps, Henderson ©, Done (Inman 83), Davies (Williams 78), Andrew
Subs: (not used) Moore, Ntlhe, McNulty, Keane, Gillam
Oxford: Eastwood, Tiendalli, Williamson, Mousinho ©, Carroll, Henry (Van Kessel 77), Payne (Rothwell 64), Mowatt, Fernandez (Ledson 84), Ruffels, Thomas
Subs: (not used) Shearer, Martin, Obika, Napa
Referee: Mr C Boyeson
Assistants: Mr N Smith and Mr AH Greenwood
Fourth Official: Miss H Byrne