Football: Rochdale 0 - 2 Burton

Date published: 01 March 2021

Rochdale’s relegation worries increased after Saturday's defeat to Burton Albion, as the visitors, who started the day bottom ran out comfortable winners. Rochdale’s woes were compounded by the sending off of Ollie Rathbone with 13 minutes remaining when the midfielder saw red following an altercation with Jonny Smith.

Defeat leaves Dale outside the relegation zone on goal difference with a turnaround in form needed if they are to stave off relegation to League Two.

Coming into the game the old cliché of ‘it’s a six pointer’ was being banded about with just three points separating the sides at the start of play although the visitors have been in fine form since they appointed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as manager for a second time at the start of the year. The Brewers had won four of their six games since Hasselbaink took charge in a run that had seen them climb to within touching distance of the sides above having been cut adrift after Christmas.

Dale needed a little more pace and intensity about their play and started very brightly and almost took the lead inside two minutes. Dale worked the ball well down the right wand Aaron Morley’s centre ball found Matty Done inside the Burton penalty area. Done’s weak shot on his weaker right foot was blocked with Stephen Humphrys’ follow up also bravely blocked. A third chance came for Newby who was denied by the defence as the visitors threw their bodies on the line.

A nasty clash of heads between Ryan McLaughlin and Tom Hamer brought about a lengthy stoppage although both players were able to continue after receiving treatment, it knocked Dale off their stride and their early positivity dwindled as Burton took control of the remainder of the first half. The lively Smith tested Gavin Bazunu although the on-loan Manchester City goalkeeper was comfortable with the effort.

Hamer, seemingly unaffected by the knock he received earlier in the half hit a brilliant dipping volley that was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Bazunu as the visitors edged closer to the opening goal.

The second half continued in much the same vein as Hasselbaink’s side controlled the game. Mike Fondop, a big strong centre forward was a handful for the Dale defence on occasions, although the February signing from Aldershot, one of twelve Burton made in the winter transfer window, should have done better when he burst past Paul McShane. A lack of composure when in front of goal saw his shot flash wide of the far post.

Fondop was replaced by Kane Hemmings, a move which would ultimately pay off for Hasselbaink. Hemmings had only been on the pitch for a few minutes when he found himself with a sight of goal; the substitute scooping over from inside the box when he should have done better, and better he did a few moments later.

Hamer’s long throw was a real weapon in the Burton armoury and when he launched a throw from the right Hemmings latched onto the end of a flick to side foot into the bottom right.

Dale never really looked like getting back into the game, in fact they failed to register a shot on target in the whole 90 minutes, but their task was made even harder with the dismissal of Rathbone in the 77th minute. The incident seemed innocuous but soon escalated. Rathbone was trying to take a quick free-kick but Smith grabbed the Dale man’s shorts to stop him. Rathbone took exception and the two squared up and when Rathbone threw his head towards Smith, the Burton winger threw himself to the floor despite no contact. Referee Marc Edwards was quickly on the scene and brandished the red card for Rathbone and decided a yellow was sufficient for Smith.

The bad day at the office was compounded with four minutes of the game remaining, Lucas Akins curling a delightful shot from outside the area beyond the outstretched dive of Bazunu to seal the win.

Dale's defeat by Burton completes a dreadful month for the team - scoring just one goal in five games, and conceding nine goals in three defeats and two 0-0 draws during February.

The bottom of Sky Bet League One is very tight so points are needed from Brian Barry-Murphy’s side but with games coming up in March against the likes of Hull City, Sunderland and current league leaders Peterborough, the writing could be on the wall for Dale’s League One survival and they now miss one of their better players in Ollie Rathbone for the next three games through suspension.


Rochdale: Bazunu, McLaughlin, O’Connell ©, McShane, Done, Newby, Morley ( Roberts 73), Rathbone, Baah (Odoh 90), Shaughnessy (Grant 73), Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Osho, Hopper

Burton: Garratt, Brayford, Bostwick, Carter, Hamer, Akins, Clare (Mancienne 79), Edwards, Smith (Broom 87), Rowe (Powell 56), Fondop (Hemmings 56)
Substitutes: (not used) O’Hara, Earl, Taylor

Referee: Mr M Edwards
Assistants: Mr S Rushton & Mr I Stankovic
Fourth Official: Mr R Bartlett

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