Football: Rochdale 1 - 1 Northampton Town
Date published: 25 November 2020
Willbutts Lane Stand
Stephen Humphrys scored a superb free-kick to earn Rochdale a well deserved point at the Crown Oil Arena on Tuesday night (24 November).
The summer signing from Southend curled a beauty into the top corner from just outside the area after Kwadwo Baah had been upended. Harry Smith had earlier headed the visitors into the lead from a Mark Marshall corner which looked like it was going to be enough for the win until Humphrys’ late strike gave Dale a share of the spoils.
After defeat at home to Wimbledon at the weekend, Brian Barry-Murphy made just one change to his side for the visit of Northampton; Stephen Humphrys, who has missed the last two months through injury, started his second game since his return to the club in the summer.
Northampton arrived with a decent away record and with 6’5” Harry Smith up front, were always going to be a handful for the Dale defence.
The visitors had height throughout their side and when captain Cian Bolger rose to head at goal, it took a goal line clearance to deny the 6’3” defender the opening goal.
From the resultant corner, Dale couldn’t do anything to stop Smith from heading his side into the lead. Marshall’s corner was perfect for Smith to plant a header beyond Lynch for the striker's third goal in two games.
Dale played better than they did at the weekend but were held at arms length by a Northampton side intent on spoiling tactics at every opportunity, slowing the play down, kicking the ball away and arguing with ball boys all of which the referee allowed them to get away with.
Barry-Murphy brought on Ryan McLaughlin at the break and the change added more impetus to the Dale attack. Ollie Rathbone saw a shot deflected wide of the mark whilst Alex Newby got into good positions on a couple of occasions but was guilty of not pulling the trigger.
Kwadwo Baah was introduced with 20 minutes to go and his presence caused the visitors issues with his pace and unpredictability.
Northampton were being forced deeper and deeper as the game wore on and when Baah was upended 20 yards from goal; up stepped Humphrys with the equaliser. The striker placed the ball just to the left of centre and curled an unstoppable free-kick past Mitchell for his first goal since his return to the club.
Dale piled on the pressure in the latter stages with Baah seeing a shot deflect just over whilst Keohane’s angled shot was beaten away by Mitchell.
With Dale committing men forward, Northampton almost snatched a stoppage time winner. A long punt up field from the goalkeeper saw Jay Lynch come racing towards the edge of his area but the giant frame of Smith beat the keeper to the ball with his header going towards the unguarded net; O’Connell the man to get back to clear off the line to secure a point.
Rochdale: Lynch, Keohane, O’Connell ©, Roberts, Bola (McLaughlin 46), Morley (Baah 71), Lund, Rathbone, Beesley, Newby, Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Chalton, McNulty, Dooley, Done, Ryan
Northampton: Mitchell, Bolger ©, Horsfall, Sheehan, Harriman, Marshall, Sowerby, McWilliams (Lines 68), Holmes (Missilou 68), Smith
Substitutes: (not used) Arnold, Adams, Rose, Chukwuemeka, Seal
Referee: Mr A Haines
Assistants: Mr A Clayton & Mr P Newhouse
Fourth Official: Mr M Parry
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