Rochdale 0 - 1 Crawley
Date published: 11 October 2021
Smith Metals stand
Rochdale’s poor run of form continued as Kwesi Appiah scored the only goal to condemn Dale to their fifth straight defeat in all competitions. The Crawley striker slid in to turn the ball home after a poor Nick Tsaroulla shot turned into a perfect pass.
The home side rarely threatened Glenn Morris in the Crawley goal; Abraham Odoh having a shot saved by the foot of the keeper about the closest Dale come to troubling the scoresheet.
The Dale boss made three changes from the side that lost to Bradford last weekend. Aidy White started his first home game whilst Liam Kelly was handed his full league debut. Conor Grant was preferred upfront ahead of Danny Cashman.
Rochdale actually started quite brightly and took the game to their visitors but they couldn’t convert their possession into chances; Conor Grant’s turn and shot inside four minutes was easily blocked by Morris.
There has only ever been two meetings between Rochdale and Crawley before today with Dale winning on both previous occasions, but that record was put in jeopardy in the 14th minute when Crawley took the lead.
It was a catalogue of errors leading up to the goal. Captain Eoghan O’Connell initial gave the ball away cheaply with Aaron Morley doing the same as the ball was played back into the mix. Morley’s clearance falling straight at the feet of Tsaroulla and despite his shot going well off target, Appiah reacted quickly to slide in and tuck the ball into the bottom corner.
The goal certainly rattled Stockdale’s side with John Yem’s side controlling large parts of the first half with Dale needing Joel Coleman to be at full stretch to deny Jake Hessenthaler.
Dale’s best chance fell to Odoh with ten minutes remaining of the first period. A good interception from Morley saw Dale break forward. Beesley was found as defenders raced to get back with his lay off finding Grant. With fans urging the Irishman to shoot, he unselfishly played in Odoh with his angled drive pushed away from goal by an outstretched boot.
The second half saw Crawley manage the game with niggling fouls and timewasting which stopped the home side gaining any kind of momentum. Jack Payne saw a shot from distance hit the top of the crossbar whilst Hessenthaler was again denied by some brave Rochdale defending.
Substitute Mark Marshall was guilty of missing a glorious chance to seal the win with fifteen minutes remaining; the former Bradford winger blazing over the bar with just the keeper to beat.
The home fans got frustrated at the lack of intensity from their side as Crawley were given too much time on the ball and it wasn’t until the five minutes of added time that Dale started to pressure the visitors goal, but they still never troubled Morris.
Booing could be heard at the full-time whistle as the fans, for the fourth game running, hadn’t had a goal to celebrate.
Rochdale: Coleman, Graham, O’Connell ©, Dorsett, O’Keeffe, White (Done 72), Morley, Kelly, Odoh (Cashman 63), Beesley, Grant (Newby 63)
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Keohane, Broadbent
Crawley: Morris, Francomb ©, Craig, Dallison, Tsaroulla, Bansal-McNulty (Marshall 60), Payne, Powell, Hessenthaler, Nicholls, Appiah (Ashford 81)
Substitutes: (not used) Henry, Davies, Frost, Francillette
Referee: Mr O Yates
Assistants: Mr M Amphlett & Mr O Williams
Fourth Official: Mr M Parry
Attendance: 2268 (100 from Crawley)
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