Football: Rochdale 1 - 0 Wycombe Wanderers
Date published: 19 April 2019
Ian Henderson, Rochdale AFC
Rochdale captain Ian Henderson netted his 20th goal of the season as Rochdale clinched a huge three points against another side in danger of relegation in Wycombe Wanderers. Henderson struck with eleven minutes left, to move Rochdale three points clear of the drop zone with three games remaining.
Kgosi Ntlhe returned to the starting eleven after missing the game at Portsmouth last weekend as Brian Barry-Murphy moved Joe Bunney from left back to right wing with Ntlhe slotting into the left of the back line. Rekeil Pyke returned from injury to take his place on the bench.
Wycombe arrived at the Crown Oil Arena knowing a win would put them all but safe, whilst defeat would see Rochdale leapfrog the Buckinghamshire side.
On a warm spring afternoon and on a very dry pitch, the visitors looked the more likely to score in a scrappy first half which saw Dale fail to register a shot on target.
Scott Kashket thought he was going to be the Chairboys hero when he went through on goal; Josh Lillis was quickly out to block the midfielders advances.
Kashaket rattled a curling shot off the face of the crossbar as the half neared its end, whilst at the other end, Ian Henderson’s volley over from eight yards out after a net run and cross from Olly Rathbone.
The second half followed a similar route, the first with Wycombe showing the more attacking threat. The troublesome Adebayo Akinfenwa used his bulk to fend off two Dale defenders to turn; Jim McNulty throwing his body on the line to deny the 36-year-old.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead just shy of the hour mark. Alex Samuel burst through the Dale defence before rounding Lillis; his shot brilliantly cleared off the line by McNulty who raced back to keep the game goalless.
The only goal of the game came towards the end as Rochdale registered their first shot on target. Rekeil Pyke, on for the injured Kgosi Ntlhe, raced onto a pass by Rathbone, his shot saved by a foot of Ryan Allsop in the Wycombe goal. With the danger not cleared, a deep cross was headed back at goal by Aaron Wilbraham with the ball scraping the crossbar; Pyke’s follow up was well saved by Allsop but only to Henderson who had the simple task of tapping in his 20th of the season.
It was all hands to the pump as Dale looked to hold onto their lead and as the referee indicated six minutes of added time, it took some monumental defending to keep the scoreline in Dale favour.
Jim McNulty, once again, threw himself in front of a Wycombe shot whilst Joe Bunney put in a perfect challenge on substitute Anthony Stewart, as the defender was about to have a clean strike on goal.
With the six minutes almost up, Sido Jombati fired narrowly wide as Rochdale just about held on for a hugely important three points.
Rochdale: Lillis, McLaughlin (Keohane 32), Ebanks-Landell, McNulty, Ntlhe (Pyke 64), Camps, Rathbone, Done, Bunney, Henderson © (Andrew 81), Wilbraham
Subs: Wade, MJ Williams, Adshead, Hamilton
Wycombe: Allsop, McCarthy, El-Abd ©, Jombati, Gape, Thompson, Freeman, Harriman, Kashkat (Cowan-Hall 70), Akinfenwa, Samuel (Stewart 90+1)
Subs: (not used) Ma-Kalambay, Jacobson, Bean, Bloomfield, Owens
Referee: Mr A Haines
Assistants: Mr W Grunnil & Mr G Liddle
Fourth Official: Mr S Rushton
Attendance: 3,711 (442 from Wycombe)
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