Football: Doncaster Rovers 2 - 0 Rochdale
Date published: 30 December 2017
Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale
Rochdale ended the year with defeat on the road at Doncaster after two first half goals saw them still without an away win in the league this season.
Ben Whiteman gave Doncaster the lead and Alfie May’s deflected shot doubled their advantage.
Looking for a first away win, the Dale manager, Keith Hill, made two changes from the Boxing Day defeat at Blackburn. Matty Done returned to the starting eleven but was utilised at left back; Joe Bunney was pushed further forward and Andy Cannon was also given a start.
Things could not have started much worse for Dale as they found themselves behind in the fourth minute. Failure to clear the ball cost them as midfielder Ben Whiteman struck a sweet volley from 18 yards out with Josh Lillis well beaten.
Doncaster carved open the Dale defence on more than one occasion.
John Marquis and Alfie May saw plenty of the ball without really troubling Lillis.
It took until the 22nd minute for Rochdale to grow into the game and pose any kind of a threat in an attacking sense.
Matt Done burst into the box before firing wide - the first real chance for Dale.
Andy Cannon will feel he should have done better when he latched on to an Ian Henderson centre but his close range shot beating Lawlor but hit the top of the crossbar.
That miss proved crucial as May doubled Doncaster's advantage a minute later.
Marquis’ running down the right drew out the Dale back line and when the ball fell to May inside the box, his shot took a wicked deflection off Ntlhe and looped over Lillis.
The second half was a none event in terms of goalmouth action.
Ian Henderson’s powerful effort, superbly kept out by Lawlor, the only real chance of a second half well managed by Doncaster.
Defeat leaves Dale in trouble at the wrong end of the table heading into 2018.
Doncaster: Lawlor, Mason, Baudry, Butler, Garrett, Houghton, Whiteman, Rowe, Coppinger (c)(Blair 60), Marquis, May (Mandeville 82)
Subs: (not used) Marosi, Alcock, Longbottom, Ben Khemis, Wright
Rochdale: Lillis, McGahey, Daniels, Ntlhe, Done, Keane (Andrew 31), Camps, Rathbone, Cannon, Bunney (Davies 64)(Adshead 82), Henderson (c)
Subs:(not used) Moore, McNulty, Williams, Thompson
Referee: Mr R Joyce
Assistants: Mr M Jones and Mr A Pashley
Fourth Official: Mr P Wright
Attendance: 7,997 (364 from Rochdale)
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