Football: Rochdale 0 - 0 Oxford
Date published: 13 March 2019
Crown Oil Arena
Relegation threatened Rochdale and Oxford played out a scrappy 0-0 draw in dreadful conditions as Storm Gareth battered the Crown Oil Arena. Bradden Inman was denied by a low save from Oxford’s Simon Eastwood after being teed up by Ian Henderson whilst at the other end only a finger tip save onto the crossbar by Andy Lonergan denied defender Curtis Nelson. Nelson got back to make a wonderful tackle to stop Henderson when he was clean through as both sides had to settle for a point that does little to boost the survival hopes of either side.
After getting a win in his first game in charge, first team coach Brian Barry-Murphy was forced into making two changes for the visit of Oxford United who started the day one place and two points above Rochdale. Ethan Ebanks-Landell missed out through injury whilst MJ Williams serves a two game ban for an accumulation of bookings.
The pitch at the Crown Oil Arena is looking in a sorry state and with the wet and windy weather that’s hit the area over the last few days, a good game of football always looked unlikely.
In a dour first half, the game sprung into life five minutes before half time. Ian Henderson burst through a resolute Oxford backline before squaring to the onrushing Bradden Inman. The Australian seemingly did everything right until Simon Eastwood somehow got down to push his effort away low down to his left hand side.
The Dale back line, which has been extremely fragile in recent weeks, looked more solid than in recent games but it took a finger tip save by Lonergan to push Nelson’s goalbound header onto the bar. The defender met a Brannagan corner from the right to power a header at goal only to see the ball crash off the face of the bar.
In first half stoppage time, Rochdale’s appeals for a penalty where turned down by referee Anthony Backhouse when Nelson put a firm but fair challenge in on Inman as he bore down on goal.
The weather seemingly took a turn for the worse at the start of the second half with a strong wind and battering rain making conditions difficult.
Chances were few and far between for either side; Jordan Williams hitting straight at Eastwood after doing well to create space for a shot whilst a flowing move from left to right ended with Gavin Whyte slicing a shot into the side netting.
Lonergan made a smart save from substitute Jerome Sinclair's powerful shot from the right hand side of the goal.
Only a wonderful tackle from Nelson denied Dale’s leading scorer Ian Henderson from adding to his season tally as the defender raced back to take the ball off the Dale captains toe as he was about to pull the trigger.
In the end a draw was a fair result for two teams who could both playing league two football next season although both sides will be hoping for a great escape in the remaining matches.
Rochdale: Lonergan, McLaughlin (Keohane 22), McNulty, Ntlhe, Bunney, Camps, Hamilton, Rathbone, Inman (Done 89), J Williams (Wilbraham 73), Henderson ©
Subs: (not used) Wade, Delaney, Adshead, Andrew
Oxford: Eastwood, Long, Dickie, Nelson, Ruffels, Brannagan, Henry, Kashi, Mackie © (Sinclair 77), Browne (Graham 72), Whyte
Subs: (not used) Garbutt, Hanson, Mousinho, Sykes, Stevens
Referee: Mr A Backhouse
Assistants: Mr P Graham & Mr B Gordon
Fourth Official: Mr M Cunliffe
Attendance: 2,331 (251 from Oxford)
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