Football: Rochdale 0 - 0 Plymouth
Date published: 21 February 2021
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Rochdale ended a run of three straight defeats with a hard-earned point in a 0-0 draw with Plymouth Argyle at the Crown Oil Arena on Saturday (20 February).
Gavin Bazunu pulled off a superb point blank stop to deny Panutche Camara in the third minute with Mike Cooper in the Plymouth goal later denying Aaron Morley and Stephen Humphrys as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Veteran defender Paul McShane returned from injury to start his first game since October whilst Jimmy Keohane was preferred at left back to Matty Done. Matty Lund had been suffering from illness this week so took a place on the bench; Kwadwo Baah getting the nod to play alongside Stephen Humphrys up front.
Plymouth arrived in the North West unbeaten in 2021 and with their eyes firmly set on the playoff places, Brian Barry-Murphy’s side would have to have to be at their best to wrestle for the points.
The best chance of the first half came as early as the third minute when the dangerous left foot of Conor Grant whipped in a perfect cross for Camara to head at goal; Bazunu somehow getting across to save the goal-bound header.
Danny Mayor and Conor Grant were having a lot of success down the left and when Mayor’s low ball flashed across goal, Bazunu was quickly down to gather under pressure from Luke Jephcott.
Bazunu had to be alert midway through the first half. A ball over the top of the Dale defence saw Moore bearing down on goal although his progress was halted by the Dale keeper who was quickly out of his area to clear.
The home side took a while to grow into the game and had their first real attack on the half hour mark. Rathbone and Newby linked well down the left with Newby pulling the ball back to Humphrys but he dragged his shot across goal and wide of the mark.
The second half was much better from Brian Barry-Murphy's side as they took the game to their visitors. A quickly taken free-kick saw Humphrys get his shot away from a tight angle with Cooper just about holding at the second attempt.
Cooper pulled off a flying one handed save to deny Morley with 20 minutes left on the clock. Baah did brilliantly to win the ball back in midfield and launch a Dale attack with the ball worked to Keohane, with the full back laying the ball off for the onrushing Morley to hit first time; Cooper tipping over.
Rochdale were seeing plenty of the ball but being limited to shots from outside the area which never really troubled Cooper, but the keeper would have the final say deep into stoppage time. An Aaron Morley freekick from the right edge of box wasn’t dealt with by the visitors. Keohane’s shot deflected up towards Humphrys who turned the ball at goal from close range with Cooper bravely out to block as the full time whistle blew.
A point moved Dale two points clear of the drop zone whilst it also extended Plymouth’s unbeaten run to nine games.
Rochdale: Bazunu, Keohane, O’Connell ©, McShane, Osho (McLaughlin 46), Rathbone, Morley, Shaughnessy (Lund 63) (Done 76), Newby, Baah (Grant 90), Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Roberts,
Plymouth: Cooper, Watts, Aimson, Opoku, Grant, Moore (Edwards 83), Fornah (Lewis 74), Mayor ©, Camara (Reeves 63), Ennis, Jephcott (Hardie 84)
Substitutes: (not used) McCormick, Lolos, Woods
Referee: Mr P Wright
Assistants: Mr R Atkin & Mr P Newhouse
Fourth Official: Mr S Williams
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