Football: Oxford 3 - 1 Rochdale
Date published: 04 November 2020
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Rochdale’s unbeaten run came to an abrupt end to bottom of the table Oxford United last night (Tuesday 3 November) with a 3-1 result.
In an even first half, the home side took the lead when Elliott Moore hooked a loose ball into the net after a mistake from Gavin Bazunu when he spilled the ball at the feet of the defender. Dale drew level seven minutes later. Matty Lund’s shot hitting the hand of Sam Long inside the box; Lund drilling the ball in from the penalty spot.
The turning point of the game came when Jake Beesley spurned a glorious chance after Simon Eastwood spilled Jimmy Ryan's shot into the path of the striker who somehow scuffed it wide of the post. From the goal-kick, Oxford took the lead. A quick ball up field found Clare in space on the right and his centre ball fell nicely to Olamide Shadipo who had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds and the on loan QPR striker netting with his first touch. The points were sealed with eight minutes remaining, Moore powering a header into the net from a corner for his second of the game.
Coming into the game on the back of a four game unbeaten run, confidence was high as Brian Barry-Murphy’s side headed to bottom side Oxford and they nearly took the lead midway through the first half. Ollie Rathbone was well found inside the area by Alex Newby but a brilliant piece of defending from Moore deflected Rathbone’s goalbound shot over.
Beesley forced a good low save from Eastwood as Dale looked to take the game to their hosts but it was Oxford who would take the lead. A corner ball was worked back to the right side and when the cross came in, Bazunu couldn’t gather through a mass of bodies with the ball bouncing at the feet of Moore who lifted the ball into the net; the Dale players appealing as they felt the keeper was fouled but the referee was having none of it.
Dale soon levelled via the penalty spot after the referee adjudged Sam Long guilty of handball. A powerful shot from Lund was charged down by Long with the referee pointing to the spot; Lund emphatically putting the spot kick into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Rochdale should have taken the lead just short of the hour mark through summer signing Jake Beesley. Jimmy Ryans speculative shot from 25 yards was spilled by Eastwood with Beesley quickly in but his scuffed shot dribbled wide of the post. Straight away Oxford took the lead through Shodipo who was clinical with his first touch.
Oxford grew in confidence and almost extended their lead after a Lund mistake allowed substitute Mark Sykes a shot; Bazunu saving well with his legs.
The home side pressed for more goals and after a succession of corners, Dale’s resolve cracked. A right wing corner from Forde was perfect for Moore to steal in and power his header into the top corner giving Bazunu no chance.
It was a defeat on the road for Brian Barry-Murphy’s men who now look to cup action with the FA Cup at home on Saturday and the EFL Trophy against Salford next Tuesday.
Rochdale: Bazunu, Keohane (McLaughlin 69), O’Connell (c), Roberts, Bola (Done 80), Morley, Lund, Rathbone, Ryan (Tavares 74), Newby, Beesley
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Dooley, Hopper
Oxford: Eastwood, Clare, Long, Elliott, Ruffels, Henry (c), Forde, Gorrin (Mousinho 85), Taylor, Agyei (Shodipo 57), McGuane (Sykes 67)
Substitutes: (not used) Stevens, Winnall, Cooper, Kelly
Referee: Mr D Rock
Assistants: Mr R Morris & Mr G Read
Fourth Official: Mr T Kettle
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