Football: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Rochdale
Date published: 06 September 2020
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Rochdale AFC progressed to the second round of the League Cup after a narrow win over Championship side Huddersfield Town at an empty John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday (5 September). The behind closed doors game due to Covid-19 was settled by a single goal from Dale captain Eoghan O’Connell when he powered home a Matty Done free-kick.
After over five months without football, Rochdale got back to competitive action in the first round of the Carabao Cup. The game was originally set to take place at the Crown Oil Arena but summer pitch renovations meant the surface wasn’t going to be ready in time so the switch to West Yorkshire was made; albeit without supporters inside the stadium.
Brian Barry-Murphy gave debuts to his two new signings. Gavin Bazunu, in on loan from Manchester City started in goal whilst Alex Newby got his first start up front.
Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested in the first half; Bazunu easily beating away Josh Koroma’s goal bound shot the closest either side came in the opening exchanges.
Matty Done thought he’d given his side the lead when he coolly slotted under Ben Hamer from close range; an assistant's flag ruling out his effort for offside.
Huddersfield started to turn the screw as the first half wore on. Alex Pritchard will feel he should have done better with a free header from a corner but his effort flew well off target whilst O’Connell put in a brave block to deny Danny Ward a goal after he capitalised on a mistake from Aaron Morley.
Dale started the second half in control and took the lead just six minutes after the restart through O’Connell. Ryan McLaughlin used his pace to draw a foul wide on the right and when Matty Done stepped up to send the ball into the area; O’Connell was on hand to head past a helpless Ben Hamer in the Huddersfield goal.
Dale were comfortable for most of the second half with Huddersfield, who were in the Premier League just over 12 months ago, struggling to create too many openings.
A mistake in midfield allowed Koroma a sight at goal although his curling shot whisked just wide whilst late in the game, substitute Isaac Mbenza tested Bazunu with an angled shot that was turned over by the on loan keeper.
The win sees Dale through to the second round to play Sheffield Wednesday (date to be confirmed) and with another away trip to Morecambe on Tuesday in the EFL Trophy, before the first league game of the season against Swindon on Saturday 12 September, confidence will be high in the Dale camp.
Rochdale: Bazunu, McLaughlin, McShane, O’Connell, Keohane, Ryan (Brierley 90), Morley, Rathbone (Baah 73), Dooley, Done (Tavares 84), Newby
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Bradley, Dunne
Huddersfield: Hamer, Rowe, Crichlow, Schindler, (Diakhaby 60), Toffolo, Jackson, Hogg (Mbenza 68), Pritchard, Ward (Austerfield 78), Bacuna, Koroma
Substitutes: (not used) Pereira, Stearman, Brown, Olagunju
Referee: Mr B Toner
Assistants:Mr S Wade & Mr R Bartlett
Fourth Official: Mr S Simpson
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