Rochdale 1 - 1 Blackburn (Rochdale win on penalties)

Date published: 08 November 2017

Rochdale secured their passage through to the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy after a penalty shootout win against ten man Blackburn Rovers. Jordan Slew’s first Dale goal sent the game to a penalty shootout and Rochdale earned the bonus point because Josh Lillis brilliantly saved Ritchie Smallwood’s spot kick with Dale netting all five of their penalties.

Keith Hill made five changes from the side that progressed to the second round of the FA Cup with Niall Canavan, Jordan Slew, Jordan Williams and youngster Daniel Adshead handed starts whilst Joe Bunney returned from suspension to start in an unfamiliar role upfront.

The first half took a while to ignite with nothing much occurring until the 29th minute when Rovers’ Wharton was sent off. The defender, whilst showing no malice in challenging Bunney for the ball, caught the Dale player in the face with referee Seb Stockbridge showing no hesitation in brandishing the red card.

The first real shot in anger from either side fell Dale’s way six minutes after the red card. Adshead’s intelligent pass found Slew who warmed the hands of Fisher with a powerful drive that was beaten away.

Despite their numerical disadvantage it was the visitors who took the lead shortly before half-time. A slip by Niall Canavan gave Elliott Bennett the chance to cross for Joe Nuttall whose clinical finish gave Lillis no chance.

Slew should have levelled in first half stoppage time when a mix up in the Blackburn defence saw him with a chance at an open goal from 22 yards out; the striker cushioned his volley wide of the mark with the goal gaping.

Rochdale had plenty of possession in the second half without too much penetration however they did get through with 18 minutes to go. Canavan’s diagonal ball was brilliantly steered towards the back post by Ntlhe with Slew on hand to power the ball beyond Fisher to level the tie.

With the scores level, the game went to a penalty shoot-out to decide who earned the bonus point with the new style ABBA penalty system in use (team 1 take a penalty followed by team 2 taking two successive penalties before team 1 take two spot kicks and so on).

Joe Rafferty, Bradden Inman and Jordan Slew gave Dale a 3-2 penalty shoot-out lead before Smallwood was thwarted by a wonderful one handed stop by Lillis. Youngster Matty Gillam stepped up and scored his penalty to make it 4-3 with Joe Bunney slamming in Dale’s 5th to virtually guarantee top spot in the group. Only a heavy defeat for Stoke U21’s at Bury tomorrow (Wednesday) evening would deny Dale as group winners.

Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Canavan (Gillam 70), McGahey, Ntlhe, Camps (c), Rathbone (Inman 52), Adshead, Williams (Done 52), Bunney, Slew
Subsitutes: (not used) Moore, Cannon, Morley, Kitching

Blackburn: Fisher, Nyambe, Ward, Wharton, Hart, Bennett (c), Smallwood, Harper, Gladwin, Nuttall, Samuel (Platt 30)
Subsitutes: (not used) Raya, Whittingham, Caddis, Antonsson, Travis, Rankin-Costello

Referee: Mr S Stockbridge
Assistants: Mr L Freeman and Mr P Marsden
Fourth official: Mr J Copeland

Attendance: 1,080

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