Football: Rochdale 0 - 1 Coventry
Date published: 11 February 2019
Crown Oil Arena
Coventry City earned a first ever win at Spotland after Jordy Hiwula’s second half goal saw Mark Robins’ Sky Blues take maximum points in a tight, scrappy game. The former Manchester City Youth player broke through in the 69th minute before dinking past goalkeeper Andy Lonergan for the only goal of the game. Lonergan, an emergency loan after Josh Lillis picked up an injury, saved brilliantly from Luke Thomas whilst at the other end Ian Henderson was denied by a wonderful save from Coventry’s own emergency loan goalkeeper David Stockdale.
After picking up a knock late in the win away at Walsall last weekend, Josh Lillis missed out, with Lonergan drafted in on a seven-day emergency loan from Middlesbrough and Zach Clough started his first game since returning to the club on loan from Nottingham Forest.
On grey, blustery day at the Crown Oil Arena, the first half matched the weather as the two sides played out a fairly dull 45 minutes.
Neither goalkeeper had much to do in the first half as both defences came out on top. A quick kick out from Lonergan found Dooley upfield with his control excellent in difficult conditions. The Irishman found Clough 18 yards out but rather than go for goal himself, the Forest loanee tried to find Henderson allowing the visiting defence the chance to clear.
The home side had appeals for a penalty turned away by referee Marsden after Clough’s right wing cross appeared to strike the hand of a defender.
Dooley and Henderson had shots off target whilst at the other end Hiwula and Bakayoko were guilty of misfiring when well placed.
The second half was slightly better in terms of goal mouth action but again poor finishing kept the score at 0-0. A quick break away from Dale saw Dooley and half-time substitute Bradden Inman exchange passes with the Australian seeing a goalbound shot blocked; Calvin Andrew on the follow up hitting over the bar.
The only goal came in the 69th minute when a long kick was flicked on by Bakayoko to Hiwula who used his pace to outstrip Ryan McLaughlin and finish past Lonergan.
Dale came mightily close to levelling eight minutes later but and would have done so but for a brilliant save by Stockdale. Calvin Andrew’s clever backheel saw Henderson bearing down on goal and when the captain dropped his shoulder to create room for a shot, his measured right footed effort looked destined for the bottom corner but for an outstretched hand of the keeper.
Luke Thomas had been a real thorn in the Dale side with his pace and the winger almost got in on the action late on. A short free-kick saw Thomas flash a shot narrowly wide whilst with their next attack, he brought about a very good save from Lonergan who got down low to his right to tip a shot away.
In the five minutes of time added on by the referee the visitors nearly doubled their advantage. A mistake by Delaney allowed Bakayoko in on goal; Lonergan standing big to block the strikers effort from a narrow angle.
It was a disappointing afternoon as teams in and around the bottom four also failed to win which meant getting something from this game would have given Rochdale a little more room between them and the relegation places.
With bottom club AFC Wimbledon up next at the Crown Oil Arena, that game takes on huge importance if Keith Hill’s side are to avoid an end of season scrap like last year.
Rochdale: Lonergan, McLaughlin (Done 83), Ebanks-Landell, McNulty (Bunney 79), Delaney, Camps, Dooley, Andrew, Hamilton, Henderson ©, Clough (Inman 46)
Subs: (not used) Wade, MJ Williams, Adshead, Wilbraham
Coventry: Stockdale, Sterling, Willis, Hyam, Mason, Bayliss (Shipley 48), Kelly ©, Thomas, Enobakhare (Davies 89), Hiwula, Bakayoko
Subs: (not used) Addai, Grimmer, Chaplin, Westbroke, Wakefield
Referee:Mr P Marsden
Assistants:Mr K Mulraine & Mr D Avent
Fourth Official:Mr M Jones
Attendance: 3,661 (898 from Coventry)
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