Football: Rochdale 0 - 0 Portsmouth
Date published: 21 September 2020
Crown Oil Arena
Rochdale earned their first point of the season with a hard fought draw at home to Portsmouth but it has come at a cost with injuries to two crucial players. New signing Stephen Humphrys and captain Eoghan O’Connell both left the field with knee injuries as goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu pulled off a string of fine saves to earn a point. Matty Done had a glorious opportunity to win it for Brian Barry-Murphy’s side but the veteran striker fluffed his lines with a virtually open goal at his mercy.
Stephen Humphrys made his second Rochdale debut (following his loan spell in 2018) as the Dale manager made four changes from the side that lost in midweek to Sheffield Wednesday. Paul McShane, Ryan McLaughlin and Jimmy Ryan returned to the team to face a Pompey side that will be looking for promotion from League One.
The first half was an even affair with the home side probably just about shading it. Ollie Rathbone sent a dipping volley narrowly wide of the post whilst Humphrys almost netted on his first outing for his new club. The striker controlled well before creating space to shoot; his effort flew just over the bar.
Those half chances for Dale made Pompey sit up and take note and they created a couple of chances of their own. Tom Naylor brought about a full stretch save from Bazunu low to his right whilst Ronan Curtis misfired from the left with a shot across goal.
Humphrys’ day was cut short when he injured himself whilst tackling on the right wing; Matty Done coming on to replace him with seven minutes left of the first half.
Done could have done better with his first attempt after Newby played an unselfish pass to the substitute who could only poke a tame effort at goal which was easily dealt with.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot and a mistake from Bazunu should have brought the first goal. A poor pass out from the on loan Manchester City goalkeeper went straight to Marcus Harness and when he played in Marquis, the former Doncaster striker should have at least hit the target as he dragged his shot wide.
Portsmouth thought they had scored with a little over 20 minutes left. Lee Brown’s right wing corner was caught by Bazunu who dropped the ball into the net with referee David Webb blowing for a foul on the young keeper.
The latter stages saw Pompey throw everything at the Dale backline. Marquis wasted another opportunity with a free header whilst the striker headed another dangerous centre into the ground with Bazunu tipping the ball over the bar. The resultant corner was whipped in and only partially cleared with Bazunu getting down well to push away a follow up shot from close range.
Despite the chances for Portsmouth, It was Dale who created the best chance of the second half. A high press from the Dale forwards saw substitute Ellis Harrison with a misplaced pass with Matty Done racing onto the loose ball. The striker rounded Craig MacGillivray in the Pompey goal and with the goal at his mercy failed to take his shot towards the unguarded net. In a flash the chance was gone and another shot a few seconds later was blocked on the line by Whatmough.
Stephen Dooley forced a save from MacGillivray with a powerful drive whilst the final chance of the game fell to defender Whatmough whose goal bound header was cleared off the line by Keohane.
In the end a point was a fair result although the visitors will possibly feel they should have converted one or two of their openings.
Rochdale: Bazunu, McLaughlin, O’Connell © (McNulty 80), McShane, Keohane, Morley, Ryan, Lund, Rathbone, Humphrys (Done 38), Newby (Dooley 66)
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, Tavares, Baah, Brierley
Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown, Naylor ©, Morris, Harness, Cannon (Jacob 66), Curtis (Harrison 79), Marquis
Substitutes: (not used) Turnbull, Downing, Pring, Close, Williams
Referee: Mr D Webb
Assistants: Mr N Barnard & Ms N Aspinall
Fourth Official: Mr W Smith
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