Football: Swindon 3 - 1 Rochdale
Date published: 13 September 2020
Rochdale started their league one campaign with defeat at newly promoted Swindon Town. Three first half goals for the home side, who were crowned League Two champions after points per game were added at the curtailment of last season, saw them earn their sixth opening day win on the bounce. Jimmy Keohane got a stoppage time consolation for Rochdale in what was an all-round disappointing display from Brian Barry-Murphy’s men.
After back-to-back wins in both cup games played last week and the news on Friday that the club had bought striker Stephen Humphrys from Southend, optimism was high with the Dale supporters as their side headed down to Wiltshire for this behind closed doors game.
Humphrys was not eligible to play in this game after he signed too late on Friday to be registered in time whilst Jimmy Ryan was unavailable through injury; Matty Lund coming into the starting line-up.
Swindon started the season like they ended the last one and edged in front inside the opening four minutes. A low corner found it’s way through to Tyler Smith seven yards out with the on-loan Sheffield United striker, who was on at Rochdale last season, left with a simple task of drilling into the bottom corner.
The home side’s tails were up and with their tactics of closing the Dale players down quickly and in numbers at every opportunity, they bossed the opening 45 minutes. Jack Payne saw two efforts go close, one over the bar whilst Gavin Bazunu in the Rochdale goal got down well to save the other.
The visitors failed to register a shot on target in the first half, Matty Lund sailing a shot over the crossbar after a tremendous sliding tackle from Rathbone set him up.
Two goals in eight minutes before the break settled this tie as a contest. Swindon's summer signing from Norwich, Diallang Jaiysimi, was a constant thorn for the Dale side to deal with. His trickery on the left and teasing cross towards the back post was gleefully met by captain Anthony Grant who headed in at the back post.
Barry-Murphy is insistent that his side play an attractive style of football, playing out from the back whenever possible but against a side like Swindon with their very sharp pressing game, it always looked a dangerous game. Bazunu tried to pass out to Rathbone who was quickly seized upon by two Swindon men and already having the run on Rathbone, Matt Smith nipped in to intercept before slotting home to make the score-line comfortable for the league one new boys.
Supporters of both sides could only watch on via their club's website video feed and whilst Dale fans may have opted for an early trip to the supermarket, Swindon fans would have been glued to their screens expecting a cricket score in the second half; such was their dominance but the job was done in the first half.
After the break the game never really ignited with Swindon still pressing but they will feel they let Dale off the hook as they didn’t extend their lead. The introduction of Fabio Tavares and Kwadwo Baah for Rochdale gave them a little more impetus upfront, Tavares curling a shot narrowly over whilst Baah showed flashes of the problems he can cause opposition defences and it was he who set up Keohane for the consolation goal.
The youngster tricked his way into the right hand side of the area with his low cross picking out Keohane, whose first time scuffed effort bobbled into the net for his first goal for the club.
It won’t be a day to dwell on for Dale and they will need to move on to their Carabao Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night (15 September), and a first home game of this campaign.
Rochdale: Bazunu, McLaughlin, O’Connell ©, McShane, Keohane, Dooley (Baah 73), Rathbone, Lund, Morley (Tavares 62), Done, Newby
Substitutes (not used): Lynch, McNulty, Amankwah, Bradley, Brierley
Swindon: Kovar, Caddis, Odimayo, Fryers, Hunt, M Smith, Grant, Payne (Curran 90), J Smith, Jaiyesimi (Hope 86), T Smith (Pittman 81)
Substitutes (not used): Fraser, Haines
Referee: Mr A Young
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