Football: Doncaster Rovers 5 - 0 Rochdale
Date published: 02 January 2019
Rochdale started 2019 in the worst possible way with a heavy defeat on the road at Doncaster Rovers. Alfie May headed home unchallenged inside the first minute to set Rovers on course for victory with Ali Crawford doubling the advantage with a spectacular free-kick midway through the first half. John Marquis headed Doncaster’s third ten minutes before half time. Dale rallied after the break but when Magnus Norman let a regulation catch through his grasp for Marquis’ second Dale never looked likely to threaten Doncaster’s clean sheet. Substitute James Coppinger finished the scoring when he stole ahead of Matty Gillam to net the home side’s fifth and ensured the travelling fans had a miserable start to the new year.
After a heavy home defeat to Bradford on Saturday, Keith Hill made four changes for the first game of the New Year. Magnus Norman was preferred in goal whilst Harrison McGahey and Kgosi Ntlhe were given the full back roles. Aaron Morley was given his first league start of the season.
Dale got off to the worst possible start when a Mallik Wilks cross wasn’t challenged by anybody in blue with diminutive striker Alfie May looping a header beyond Norman after just 45 seconds.
May thought he’d got his second just moments later, Norman pulling off a superb save low down to his right.
Doncaster’s second came midway through the first half; Wilks’ earning a free-kick on the left hand side of the area. From an acute angle, Ali Crawford tried his luck with the ball nestling into the far top corner.
A third for Doncaster wasn’t far away when a clever training ground routine from a free-kick saw Whiteman cross for Marquis who headed in unchallenged.
The start of the second half saw Keith Hill make a double change. Calvin Andrew and Bradden Inman were introduced with Dan Adshead and Aaron Morley replaced. The changes brought about a change in positions too as McGahey was pushed into the centre of defence whilst Matty Done reverted to left back; Ntlhe at right back.
The changes seemed to stem the flow of Doncaster attack with Dale creating one or two chances of their own. Ollie Rathbone brought about a low save from Ian Lawlor after his surging run whilst Inman was denied by some brilliant defending from Tom Anderson.
Doncaster’s fourth came with 15 minutes left on the clock. A seemingly innocuous looking shot from Marquis was inexplicably spilled by Norman with the ball bouncing over the line.
Veteran James Coppinger finished the scoring with a diving header from a Matty Blair cross as Rochdale conceded five without reply.
Its going to be a very interesting January transfer window as Keith Hill will no doubt have players he wants to move on to enable new blood to come in.
Rochdale: Norman, McGahey, MJ Williams, Delaney, Done, Camps (Gillam 76), Morley (Andrew 46), Adshead (Inman 46) , Ntlhe, Rathbone, Henderson (c)
Subs: (not used) Lillis, McNulty, J Williams, Matheson
Doncaster: Lawlor, Blair, Anderson, Butler (c), Andrew, Whiteman, Crawford (Taylor 83), Kane (Rowe 66), May (Coppinger 66), Marquis, Wilks
Subs: (not used) Marosi, Amos, Lund, Boocock
Referee: Mr M Coy
Assistants: Mr M Parry & Mr D Plowright
Fourth Official: Mr D Ford
Attendance: 7,408 (380 from Rochdale)
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