Football: Rochdale 0 - 2 Shrewsbury
Date published: 10 March 2021
Brian Barry-Murphy's team sit bottom of the table after winning just one of their last seventeen games
Rochdale’s relegation worries deepened with their fourth straight defeat on Tuesday night (9 March) which leaves them marooned at the bottom of Sky Bet League One, five points from safety. Two goals in nine second half minutes condemned Dale to defeat and extended their winless run to nine games with manager Brian Barry-Murphy later admitting that the team's home form is 'abysmal'.
Shrewsbury, who had former Dale striker Aaron Wilbraham taking charge of the team with manager Steve Cotterill in hospital fighting Covid-19, arrived at the Crown Oil Arena looking to end a run of three games without a win. With a former player in the opposite dugout, Dale manager Barry-Murphy switched his formation to try and outfox the opposition with a 3-5-2 formation. Aaron Morley was omitted from the starting eleven for the first time this season with the academy graduate taking his place on the bench.
The home side started the game brightly and had a couple of half chances midway through the first period. A Dale corner saw a spill from goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne at the feet of Eoghan O’Connell with the Dale captain firing across goal. It falls for Stephen Humphrys who tried to direct it at goal but could not get enough purchase on the effort and it was easily cleared.
A long punt from Gavin Bazunu saw the visitors on the back foot and when Matty Done beat the offside trap he raced onto the through ball. Burgoyne had come racing out of his goal so Done rounded the stricken keeper but was forced wide allowing defenders to get back. He pulled it back for Humphrys who was stretching but his shot lacked pace and Williams cleared off the line.
Bazunu was forced into a save from his former Manchester City teammate Nathaniel Ogbeta. The wing back created space outside the box and tried to curl one onto the bottom right corner; Bazunu equal to it.
Having had the edge during the first half it was vital that Dale came out with a similar threat in the second half.
Humphrys headed off the top of the crossbar six minutes after the re-start although an assistant’s flag would have cut short any celebrations but moments later, Shrewsbury took the lead.
A deep cross from the left caught Jimmy Keohane out with right back Josh Daniels rising at the back post to head into the top corner despite Bazunu getting two hands onto it.
Dale needed a reaction to going behind which didn’t come and nine minutes later, Shrewsbury doubled their lead. A pass through the Dale defence caught them flat footed with Josh Vela racing through to slot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The home side rallied and when Humphrys put Conor Grant through, the recent signing from Sheffield Wednesday was brilliantly tackled and when the ball spilled to Keohane; his goal bound shot was blocked by the stricken Grant in front of goal.
Humphrys had one late chance with Burgoyne equal to it. The striker took the ball well on his chest, his powerful strike from an acute angle was beaten around the post by the keeper.
It’s just one win in the last seventeen games and just one win from twenty one games at the Crown Oil Arena all season and with games running out for Rochdale and a major turnaround in form needed if they are to produce the great escape, the fans are quite rightly asking questions of the manager and the board as to the plan going forward.
Rochdale: Bazunu, Osho (Newby 79), McShane (Morley 65), Roberts, McLaughlin (Baah 65), Keohane, O’Connell ©, Grant, Shaughnessy, Done Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Brierley, Dunne
Shrewsbury: Burgoyne, Williams, Ebanks-Landell ©, Walker (Pennington 74), Ogbeta, Daniels, Davis (Edwards 74), Vela, Goss, Whalley (Main 87), Udoh (Pyke 87)
Substitutes: (not used) Sarkic, Chapman, Sears
Referee: Mr M Coy
Assistants: Mr C Isherwood & Mr R Wigglesworth
Fourth Official: Mr B Toner
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