Football: Rochdale 2 – 4 Manchester City U21
Date published: 09 January 2019
Rochdale crashed out of the EFL Trophy after defeat at the hands of Manchester City U21s. Dale raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first thirty minutes but conceded four goals in the second half.
A mistake by keeper Magnus Norman gifted City captain Luke Bolton a goal and a way back into the game with substitute Jayden Braaf netting a brace to edge them in front. Taylor Richards, who saw a penalty saved when the score was 1-0, headed in with six minutes remaining as the youngsters ran out winners.
As has been his philosophy throughout this competition, Keith made eight changes with a a mixture of fringe players and youth getting their chance. 17-year-old Dan Adshead captained the side whilst there were also starts for fellow teenagers Aaron Morley and Luke Matheson. On loan Bristol City striker Rory Holden got his first start in a Dale shirt.
Dale took the lead with the first real attack in the fourth minute when Jim McNulty headed in a Kgosi Ntlhe cross after the City defence failed to clear a corner. Ntlhe peeled away at the back post to send the ball back into the danger area for the veteran to head in off the left-hand post.
The home side were looking dangerous against their young opponents. Matty Done forced a save from Daniel Grimshaw in the City goal when played through whilst Holden was denied by a great piece of defending from Phillipe Sandler.
City had a great chance to draw level when full back Jeremie Frimpong used his immense pace to race through on goal with McNulty drawn into making a challenge that upended the defender inside the box. Taylor Richards stepped up to take the spot kick with Norman guessing the right way to save the poorly executed penalty.
That miss looked to have cost the visitors as soon after Dale doubled their advantage. Some neat interplay from Rochdale saw Stephen Dooley and Rory Holden exchange passes on the edge of the City box with the former curling a beauty into the bottom right hand corner for his first goal for the club.
City came out for the second half looking much more up for the fight and when Norman hesitated with a clearance, Luke Bolton closed him down with the ball spinning towards goal and the captain sliding the ball into the unguarded net.
Having conceded 13 goals in their last three games, Dale started to look fragile at the back and despite Norman made a terrific triple save, substitute Braaf tapped in the fourth attempt to level the score.
Braaf netted his second with a little under ten minutes left. The midfielder drove through the centre of the pitch to find himself one-on-one with Norman who could do little to stop the visitors taking the lead.
City’s passage through to the next round was assured two minutes later. The classy Ian Carlo Poveda danced his way down the right before dinking a perfect cross to Taylor Richards to head home unchallenged at the back post.
It was frustrating for the Dale fans after seeing their side shoot themselves in the foot once more and again ship four goals for the fourth consecutive game.
Rochdale: Norman, Matheson, MJ Williams, McNulty, Ntlhe, Morley, Adshead ©(Yonsian 85), Rathbone (Inman 61), Dooley (Gillam 65), Done, Holden
Subs: (not used) Wade, Rafferty, Hamzat, Bradley
Man City: Grimshaw, Frimpong, Bellis, Sandler, Ogbeta, Pozo (Gomes 86), Richards, Nmecha (Doyle 90), Garre (Braaf 55), Bolton ©, Poveda
Subs: (not used) Dele-Bashiru, Scott, Dionkou, McDonald
Referee: Mr R Joyce
Assistants: Mr M Jones & Mr G Fyvie
Fourth Official: Mr M Salisbury
Attendance: 2,176 (528 from Man City)
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