Football: Blackpool 1 - 0 Rochdale

Date published: 17 February 2021

Rochdale fell to a 1-0 defeat at Blackpool on Tuesday night as Sullay Kaikai scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half. Kaikai’s deflected shot from inside the penalty area settled the game with Rochdale rarely testing home keeper Chris Maxwell which leaves Brian Barry-Murphy’s strugglers one point above the relegation zone.

After the weekend postponement at AFC Wimbledon, this was the first game for Dale since the 4-1 defeat by MK Dons at the Crown Oil Arena last Tuesday. Manager Brian Barry-Murphy made one change to his starting lineup as the experience of Jim McNulty was preferred to the youthfulness of on loan defender Hayden Roberts. Captain Eoghan O’Connell recovered from an injury that forced him off before half-time in the MK Dons game to take his place alongside McNulty at the back.

The visitors started well and should have taken the lead after just 10 minutes. A delightful ball over the top of the home defence saw Alex Newby racing clear and with just Maxwell to beat the Dale winger tried to lift the ball over the keeper but failed to get enough lift which allowed Maxwell to easily gather.

Blackpool, who haven’t lost a home league game since October, almost took the lead three minutes later but for some good goalkeeping and some brave defending. Kaikai’s right wing freekick was headed back into the danger area by James Husband for defender Jordan Thorniley with his shot well blocked by Stephen Humphrys. The loose ball fell to Kenny Dougall who was denied by a good save by Bazunu and when Thorniley saw sight of goal again from 12 yards, McNulty threw himself in the way and getting the ball smacked straight in his face.

That should have acted as a warning to Dale as just eight minutes later, Blackpool scored. A poor clearance by Gabriel Osho fell to Dougall who worked the ball to Husband on the left. The full back’s delivery was nodded across goal by Matty Virtue with Jerry Yates flicking on to Kaikai to smash in via a deflection.

Humphrys’ freekick from 30 yards out being tipped over by Maxwell was about as close Barry-Murphy’s side got to troubling the scoresheet before the interval.

The second half saw very little in the way of goalmouth action. Kaikai’s 25 yard freekick grazing the outside of a post the only moment of note in the early stages after the restart.

Rochdale saw much more of the ball in the second half although a well marshalled backline from the home side meant they never got near to Maxwell’s goal. The one time they did get through after a long ball over the top to Humphrys; the Dale striker mis-controlled and the ball bounced off his knee and bounced out of play.

Results elsewhere mean that Barry-Murphy’s side are now hovering precariously above the relegation zone having lost their last three games.


Rochdale: Bazunu, Osho (McLaughlin 68), O’Connell ©, McNulty, Done (Keohane 68), Newby, Shaughnessy (Baah 60), Morley, Rathbone, Lund, Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McShane, Roberts, Grant

Blackpool: Maxwell ©, Gabriel, Thorniley, Ekpiteta (Garbutt 54), Husband, Dougall (Ward 70), Virtue, Stewart, Kaikai, Simms, Yates
Substitutes: (not used) Sims, Mitchell, Turton, Lubala, Embleton

Referee:  Mr A Backhouse
Assistants: Mr M Parry & Mr G Hilton
Fourth Official: Mr R Joyce

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