Football: Rochdale 2 - 1 Accrington

Date published: 13 October 2019


Goals either side of the break from captain Ian Henderson saw Rochdale earn their first home win in the league this season against a battling Accrington.

Henderson was quickest to react when Ollie Rathbone’s shot was only parried by Accrington stopper Dimitar Evtimov, firing into the roof of the net, with his second coming four minutes into the second half. Dale’s leading scorer was through on goal before casually lifting the ball over the onrushing Evtimov and into the net.

Accrington got a goal back minutes later; Joe Pritchard hitting an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner but Robert Sanchez kept Dale’s lead intact with two brilliant saves as Brian Barry-Murphy’s men ended a run of 8 games without a win.

Dale’s injury crisis saw former Republic of Ireland International Paul McShane join on a short term deal with the 33 year old making his debut alongside the fit again Eoghan O’Connell in the heart of defence. Matty Done also returned from injury to start at left back. Captain Ian Henderson had recovered from illness to start upfront.

The opening stages were pretty even although the visitors looked slightly the more threatening as John Coleman’s side looked to leapfrog their hosts with a win. Jordan Clark’s super right wing cross looked destined for Offrande Zanzala’s head eight yards out until Robert Sanchez bravely came out to catch and snuff out the danger.

Dale’s recent run of poor results has coincided with Eoghan O’Connell’s injury lay off and the Irishman showed his worth to his side when he brilliantly blocked a Zanzala effort that could have caused Sanchez problems.

Accrington continued to press the Rochdale back line and when they worked a great ball to Sam Finley, the former Fylde midfielder shot narrowly wide of the post.

Despite seeing plenty of the ball, Rochdale hadn’t really troubled Bulgarian keeper Evtimov in the Accrington goal but that changed with 5 minutes left in the first half. Ollie Rathbone saw half a chance and hit a low shot from 20 yards out that Evtimov could only parry; and Henderson quickly raced in to fire into the net.

The Rochdale captain, who is hunting down the goalscoring record from club legend Reg Jenkins (129 goals in all competitions, Henderson started the day on 116) should have added to his season’s tally when through one-on-one with Evtimov; his shot only finding the side netting from an acute angle.

The start of the second half brought about two goals in the opening 8 minutes with Henderson moving onto 118 for the club soon after the re-start. An aerial challenge from Aaron Wilbraham saw the ball break to Henderson just outside the area and as Evtimov came out to close down the Dale skipper, Henderson coolly lifted the ball over the stricken keeper to double the advantage.

Accrington reacted well to going further behind and they halved the deficit four minutes later in stunning fashion. Pritchard picked up the ball midway inside the Dale half and with there seemingly no danger, the former Tottenham Hotspur Under 21 player hit a swerving, dipping shot that beat a full stretch Sanchez.

Accrington, managed by former Rochdale manager John Coleman, stepped up the pace as they went in search of an equaliser but couldn’t get past an inspired Robert Sanchez. The Spaniard pulled off a fantastic one handed save to deny Clark whilst O’Connell again blocked a shot from substitute Dion Charles.

Ollie Rathbone shot over when he perhaps should have done better in the latter stages and his miss could have proved crucial as Colby Bishop nearly scored for Accrington in the 90th minute. A cross from the left was perfect for Bishop who powered a header at goal only for Sanchez to somehow claw his header over the crossbar.

There was a nervy end to the game for Dale as the officials indicated four minutes of added time but played almost seven and with virtually the last kick of the game, Jordan Clark beat the Dale backline to slide in; his shot going over when it seemed easier to score.

It was a battling performance from Brian Barry-Murphy’s side who will be hoping for a similar result next week when they come up against another former Dale manager in Keith Hill as they travel to Bolton Wanderers.

 

Rochdale: Sanchez, Keohane, O’Connell, McShane, Done, MJ Williams, Ryan (Andrew 80), Rathbone, Camps, Wilbraham (Tavares 72), Henderson © (Morley 90+2)
Subs: (not used) Lynch, Baah, Bradley, Gillam

Accrington: Evtimov, Hughes, Sykes, Opoku (Carvalho 87), Pritchard, Clark, Kaba Sherif (Edwards 46), Finley, Conneely ©, Bishop, Zanzala (Charles 69)
Subs: (not used) Savin, Maguire, Barclay, Diallo

Referee: Mr T Neild
Assistants: Mr C Ward & Mr T Harty
Fourth Official: Mr J Wilson

Attendance: 3,508 (633 from Accrington)

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