Football: Rochdale 2 - 2 Sunderland
Date published: 28 October 2020
Manager Brian Barry-Murphy was pleased with his team's performance
Rochdale and Sunderland played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Tuesday evening at the Crown Oil Arena. Sunderland twice took the lead through Charlie Wyke and Bailey Wright but a Matty Lund brace twice drew Dale level as the side had to settle for a share of the spoils.
After back-to-back away wins, Brian Barry-Murphy and his side returned to home comforts with the visit of Sunderland; a side that Dale have never picked up a point against in the four games between the two sides.
The Dale manager made just one change to the side that beat Shrewsbury at the weekend; Ryan McLaughlin was preferred at right back to Jimmy Keohane who dropped to the bench, the first time the Irishman had not started a game this season. The inclusion of McLaughlin set up an intriguing match-up as his older brother Conor started for Sunderland – the third time the two brothers had faced each other in a competitive game.
The game was a lively affair played at quite a fast tempo with Rochdale the better side in the opening exchanges but it was Sunderland who took the lead with their first real attack. The dangerous Lyndon Gooch turned Ryan McLaughlin inside out before launching a left footed cross that was perfect for Charlie Wyke to thump in a header for his sixth goal of the season.
The lead for the Black Cat’s only lasted ten minutes as Dale drew level through Matty Lund’s first of the night. In an almost mirror image of the opening goal, Alex Newby twisted and turned to create space for a cross that was headed in by Lund from a similar position in front of goal to that which Wyke had scored from at the other end.
Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland, who were in the Premier League as recently as 2017, re-took the lead five minutes before the break although the goal had more than a hint of good fortune about it.
Dale keeper Gavin Bazunu punched away a Sunderland corner with the ball finding Gooch once more outside the box. The American international made space for a shot that took two deflections on its way through, eventually finding Bailey Wright whose header squirmed through into the net.
Lund netted his second of the game in the last minute of the first period and again it owed a lot to the work of Newby down the right. The summer signing from Chorley again used his pace to create space with his near post cross well controlled by Rathbone with his back to goal. The former Manchester United academy star, making his 150th appearance for Rochdale, cleverly laid the ball off to Lund who passed the ball into the bottom left of the net to take his season tally onto four but more importantly draw Dale level heading into the break.
Sunderland stepped it up a gear or two after the break but never really troubled Bazunu until the final ten minutes when the Manchester City loanee pulled of a super save from a Wyke header. The former Bradford striker met a Conor McLaughlin centre ball with Bazunu needing to be at full stretch to tip his header around the post.
The visitors came even closer to a winner as the game approached its conclusion. George Dobson’s volley from the edge of the area had Bazunu beaten but thankfully the crossbar came to Dale’s rescue whilst the keeper was quickly back to his feet to deny substitute Danny Graham’s header on the follow up with a flying stop.
Deep into stoppage time, Rathbone saw his 30 yard free-kick whistle just wide of the mark and both sides had to settle for a point.
Rochdale: Bazunu, McLaughlin, O’Connell ©, Roberts, Bola, Ryan (Done 81), Morley, Lund, Rathbone, Newby (McNulty 88), Beesley
Substitutes: (not used) Chalton, Keohane, Tavares, Hopper, Brierley
Sunderland: Burge, Sanderson, Flanagan, Wright, McLaughlin, Hume, Dobson, Maguire (Scowen 75), Power ©, Gooch, Wyke (Graham 82)
Substitutes: (not used) Matthews, Willis, O’Brien, Grigg, Leadbitter
Referee: Mr J Bell
Assistants: Mr A Moore & Mr H Karaivanov
Fourth Official: Mr D Drysdale
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