Football: Rochdale 1 - 2 Sunderland
Date published: 21 August 2019
Rochdale’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end despite a very spirited performance against Sunderland at the Crown Oil Arena on Tuesday (20 August).
Charlie Wyke swept home mid-way through the second half to edge his side in front after Callum Camps had earlier levelled for Dale.
The Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy raised a few eyebrows by handing 16-year-old right-back Luke Matheson his first league start whilst 19-year-old Aaron Morley was also recalled to the starting line-up.
The visitors, whose side are littered with international players, were backed by a very vocal following from the North East as they looked to continue their recent good run of form but were forced onto the back foot by Rochdale from the first whistle.
Luke O’Nien was inches away from conceding a penalty when he scythed down Ollie Rathbone, who was making headway down the left; the full-back earning an early yellow card for his troubles.
Dale continued to impose themselves on Jack Ross’ side and when another well-worked move fell to Callum Camps, the former academy graduate fired wide off the mark.
Camps came close to breaking the deadlock in the 21st minute. A neat MJ Williams pass saw Camps burst into the area but he couldn’t squeeze his shot inside Jon McLaughlan’s post and his effort hit the side netting.
The visitors had rarely threatened but took the lead in Sunderland’s first attack of the night. Aiden McGeady was picked out by O’Nien inside the box just short of the hour with the Republic of Ireland international clinically firing past Robert Sanchez. That buoyed the 2,300 travelling fans, although they were silenced again less than five minutes later when Camps equalised.
Some more fantastic play from Barry-Murphy’s side involving Rathbone and Dooley created space for Camps. Dooley’s lay off found Camps, whose scuffed shot deceived McLaughlan, and ball nestled into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Sunderland improved after the break and they re-took the lead just short of the hour mark and again McGeady was involved. O’Nien’s cross towards the back post was headed down by McGeady with the ball falling at Charlie Wyke’s feet and the former Bradford striker squeezing the ball under two defenders and into the net for his second of the campaign.
Sunderland almost extended their lead minutes later; a fine double stop from Sanchez denied Will Grigg a first of the season. The £4 million-pound signing from Wigan broke through but the angle was tight on the left and Sanchez beat away the first shot whilst the follow up was again saved by a combination of Jim McNulty and the goalkeeper.
Dale tried to force the issue in the last 15 minutes, but they couldn’t get past a resilient Sunderland defence. Substitute Calvin Andrew saw his goal bound shot deflect wide of the goal
McLaughlan’s blushes were spared late on; Dooley’s low shot spilled by the keeper with the ball rolling just the wrong side of the post.
In the last action of the game Andrew headed straight at McLaughlan when he was brilliantly picked out by Matheson whilst Matty Done’s cross was headed well over by Henderson.
A fantastic performance from Rochdale will be remembered for a long time despite the disappointing result with the signs for the future looking bright with the likes of Luke Matheson keeping seasoned professionals at bay for the majority of the game.
Rochdale: Sanchez, Matheson, O’Connell, McNulty, Norrington-Davies, MJ Williams (Done 83), Morley (Ryan 65), Rathbone (Andrew 70), Dooley, Camps, Henderson ©
Subs: (not used) Wade, Delaney, Keohane, Magloire
Sunderland: McLaughlan, O’Nien, Willis, Ozturk, McLaughlin, Gooch (Grigg 55), Power (McGeouch 65), Leadbitter ©, McGeady, Wyke, Maguire (Embleton 88)
Subs: (not used) Burge, Flanagan, Dobson, Hume
Referee: Mr J Busby
Assistants: Mr I Dudley & Ms N Aspinall
Fourth Official: Mr J Hull
Attendance: 5,258 (2,351 from Sunderland)
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