Football: Accrington 1 - 2 Rochdale
Date published: 03 January 2020
Rochdale made a winning start to 2020 after overcoming local rivals Accrington Stanley on New Years Day. Ian Henderson edged Dale in front in first half stoppage time with a clever scooped finish with Stephen Dooley netting a second midway through the second half. Offrande Zanzala got one back for the hosts deep into stoppage time but Dale held out for an important three points.
After three defeats over the festive period, Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy was boosted by the return of captain Ian Henderson after missing the last three games.
Accrington came into the game on top of the form chart having lost just once in their last eight league games with manager John Coleman looking to continue that run against his former side.
The opening exchanges were pretty even with neither keeper seriously tested. Dion Charles deflected effort was easy for Robert Sanchez whilst the striker saw a cleaner strike at goal again easily held by the keeper. At the other end, Ollie Rathbone fired off target with a volley as both sides felt their way into the game.
A misplaced header by Ian Henderson in the 12th minute gifted Sam Finley a chance; his rushed shot slashed wide of the post when he perhaps should have done better.
The main talking point of the game was around the 21st minute when Accrington’s Ben Barclay cynically brought down Callum Camps as he made headway down the middle of the pitch with the Stanley man receiving a yellow card. Within 60 seconds of that challenge, Barclay scythed down Ollie Rathbone and with everybody in the stadium, including the player himself, expecting a second yellow card, the referee inexplicably let Barclay off and after speaking to both benches Mr Neild resumed the game with a Dale free-kick. There was looks of bemusement around the Wham Stadium and within minutes, Coleman replaced Barclay with Seamus Conneely before he was sent off.
The visitors finished the half strong with Jimmy Keohane starting and almost finishing a flowing move down the left. The Irishman played a ball into Dooley who worked forward and although his shot was blocked, it fell to Keohane who fired over but that wasn’t the end of the first half action as deep into stoppage time, Dale did take the lead.
16 year-old Kwadwo Baah burst down the left to leave Callum Johnson in his wake before feeding Camps who brilliantly disguised a pass through for Henderson to beat the offside trap before lifting the ball over the onrushing Josef Bursik for his 11th of the season.
The second half started slowly with the first real chance falling for Dale in the 64th minute as they doubled their advantage. A well worked move with Rathbone sliding a perfectly weighted pass through to Dooley to race in on goal and coolly finish past the keeper.
Accrington responded and should have scored when substitute Joe Pritchard blazed over with the goal at his mercy. The home side flashed a few balls across goal as they searched for a way back into the game; Sanchez remained untested.
Calvin Andrew should have made the score more emphatic when his diving header lacked power 5 yards from goal after a clever knock down from fellow substitute Fabio Tavares.
That miss could have proved costly as Stanley did get a goal in the second minute of time added on. A cross from the right looped up off O’Connell under pressure from Zanzala with the former Derby striker quick to his feet to poke the ball past Sanchez but it was too little too late as Dale held on for the win.
Rochdale: Sanchez, Magloire, O’Connell, McShane (McLaughlin 73), Keohane, Dooley, Rathbone, Ryan, Baah (Tavares 88), Camps, Henderson © (Andrew 85)
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, Pyke, Wilbraham, Gillam
Accrington: Bursik, Johnson (Carvalho 74),Hughes, Sykes, Opoku, Clark, Finley, Barclay (Coneely 29). McConville © (Pritchard 33), Zanzala, Charles
Substitutes: (not used) Evtimov, Rodgers, Alese, Diallo
Referee: Mr T Neild
Assistants: Mr R Woodward & Mrs N Aspinall
Fourth Official: Mr M Edwards
Attendance: 2,975 (804 from Rochdale)
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