Football: Rochdale 3 - 4 Oxford
Date published: 27 January 2021
Oxford scored a last minute winner to take the points against Rochdale
For the second game in a row Rochdale conceded a stoppage time goal although this one signalled defeat for Brian Barry-Murphy’s side in a topsy turvy game at the Crown Oil Arena last night (Tuesday 26 January). A mistake from goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu gifted the ball to Oxford substitute Olamide Shadipo who clipped the ball into the empty net from 35 yards out to break Dale’s resolve.
Earlier, Dale had led to turn the game on its head through goals from Matty Done and Stephen Humphrys after Dan Agyei gave Oxford an early lead. Two goals after the break edged the visitors back into the lead before Matty Lund bundled the ball in to make it 3-3 and then the late drama condemned Dale to defeat.
The Dale boss welcomed Stephen Humphrys back to the starting line-up after the striker missed the weekend draw at Gillingham with a slight niggle but had to do without fullback Ryan McLaughlin who is self-isolating; Matty Done came in at left back with Jimmy Keohane switching to the right.
Oxford arrived having won their last six games in all competitions and are unbeaten since the end of November, so it certainly looked ominous for Dale when they took the lead after just 12 minutes. The home side failed to clear a corner and when Dan Agyei dropped his shoulder to turn between Rathbone and Dooley, the striker had enough space to pick out the bottom right-hand corner.
Dale responded well and levelled ten minutes later when Matty Done notched his first of the season with a neat finish from the edge if the area. Dooley picked up a Lund flick and drove forward with the Oxford defence backing off he played in Done unmarked on his left who cut back to drill a low shot inside the far post and soon after edged in front through Stephen Humphrys.
Aaron Morley’s corner from the left was met by Humphrys who’s audacious backheel volley crept in at the near post to send Dale in at the break 2-1 up.
Barry-Murphy would have wanted to maintain that lead for as long as possible heading into the second period, but Oxford were level just four minutes after the re-start. A free kick on the right was delivered into the box for Elliott Moore to climb above Gabriel Osho to power a header past Gavin Bazunu.
The game was in the balance with both sides looking likely to score and both did within two minutes of each other around the hour mark. Firstly, substitute James Henry picked up in midfield before unleashing a powerful strike from 25 yards that flew past Bazunu to give Oxford the lead although less than two minutes later Dale levelled through leading scorer Lund. Morley’s teasing cross went into the area behind the defence but in front of the keeper with Lund sneaking in to fire past Stevens to once again level the scoring.
Again, both sides pushed for a winner. Rathbone raced in at goal after being played through with only a perfectly timed last gasp tackle from Moore denying the Dale captain a shot at goal whilst in stoppage time Morley saw the keeper off his line and from 10 yards inside his own half went for goal only for Stevens to get back to gather.
With the three minutes of stoppage time almost up a mistake from Dale keeper Gavin Bazunu gifted the three points to Oxford. A ball played up towards the Dale area saw Bazunu come out of his area to clear and under no pressure from an opponent scuffed his clearance straight to Olamide Shodipo who from 35 yards out put the ball into the back of the empty net.
It was a crushing blow for a Rochdale side who suffered a similar fate on Saturday when they conceded a last-minute equaliser at Gillingham and with the bottom of League one being so tight, these dropped points could come back to haunt Brian Barry-Murphy and his side.
Rochdale: Bazunu, Keohane, Osho, Roberts, Done, Dooley, Lund, Morley, Rathbone ©, Baah (Newby 60), Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Chalton, Tavares, Bradley, Hopper, Brierley, Dunne
Oxford: Stevens, Ruffels, Moore, Gorrin, Long, Brannagan, Hanson (Henry 46), Atkinson, Obita (Shodipo 67), Agyei (Forde 67), Taylor (Winnall 67)
Substitutes: (not used) Eastwood, Hall, Kelly
Referee: Mr R Joyce
Assistants: Mr G Fyvie & Mr A Dallison
Fourth Official: Mr P Marsden
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