Chester City 0
Rochdale 4
(Le Fondre 29, Butler 44og,..." /> Chester City 0
Rochdale 4

(Le Fondre 29, Butler 44og,..." />

Ellison sees red to make it all too easy for Dale

Date published: 30 January 2008

Chester City 0
Rochdale 4 (Le Fondre 29, Butler 44og, Kennedy 60, Rundle 88)

Rochdale moved into the League Two play-off positions with an easy win over dismal Chester.

Chester have lost seven of their last eight games and had Kevin Ellison to thank for their latest demise after he was sent off on the half hour for head-butting Simon Ramsden.

The home side had been without a goal in their previous three matches and, despite a bright opening, they never looked likely to get one after Ellison’s moment of madness.

Rochdale were already a goal to the good when, following a tussle on the touchline with Ramsden in which the Chester winger won a corner, Ellison planted a head butt on Ramsden as the players awaited the set piece. The referee was in full view of the incident and promptly gave Ellison his marching orders.

From then on Rochdale completely dominated what had initially appeared to be a very open contest. Rochdale were on top to such an extent that Chester were ridiculed to the point of embarrassment and many of their fans had a word or two to say to manager Bobby Williamson as the game drew to a close.

“Kevin Ellison says it was only a clash but we will have to look at it on video.

“I think I should have some sympathy for myself. I never got sent off, I never misplaced a pass, I never scored an own goal but I am the manager and I am going to have to take that.”

Dale’s opener had come against the run of play, Adam Le Fondre tapping in after Rene Howe’s shot was parried by Chester keeper John Danby. Earlier Sam Russell had been forced to continue his form from Rochdale’s game at MK Dons at the weekend, making a superb reflex save from Craig Lindfield’s close range volley.

Once Ellison had seen red Rochdale passed their way around the field with considerable ease. They were helped when their former player Paul Butler put the ball beyond his own keeper before half time but the second half was a lesson in keeping possession.

The third goal summed this up to perfection and has to be the front runner for Rochdale’s goal of the season. A flowing move down the left hand channel involved Tom Kennedy, David Perkins, Howe and Gary Jones before the former latched onto the latter’s pass, danced past two hapless defenders in the penalty area then finished right footed beyond Danby. Even Arsenal would be hard pressed to produce a finer team goal.

Chances came and went for the visitors and they might even have been disappointed in the end that they only amassed four. Chester had been reduced to nine men, Laurence Wilson hauling down Perkins when he was through on goal, by the time substitute Adam Rundle rifled in Dale’s fourth from a tight angle.

 David Flitcroft, Rochdale’s assistant manager, ran team affairs as manager Keith Hill did not attend the game due to illness. Flitcroft dedicated the win to his boss: “This result is for one person; Keith Hill. I asked the lads to do that for the gaffer.”

“Promotion candidates go to struggling teams and get three points and the lads were superb again.”

Bobby Williamson said it was the sending off of Ellison, who has been the subject of a transfer bid from rival club Wrexham this week, which ultimately decided the game: “To go down to ten me it is always going to be hard and to go down to 2-0 at half time is always going to make things difficult.”

"Rochdale played they're game really well against ten men, they were disciplined and had us running about the place. Rochdale could have scored more if the truth be told.”

Chester started the game by far the brighter of the two sides but it was a reflection on the game that they failed to score during their bright spell and the visitors scored almost the moment they had finally found their feet.

Aside from Russell’s mesmerising stop, Lindfield looked have laid a cross into the six yard box on a plate for Richie Partridge, only for Tom Kennedy to knick the ball from the midfielder’s toes.

A defensive switch off gave Rochdale their opener. Simon Ramsden was allowed to take a quick throw in to Higginbotham, he returned the ball to the full back who hit a first time past to Howe and Le Fondre had the simple task of finishing into the empty net once Howe’s shot had been blocked by Danby.

It was certainly an unmissable finish for the striker but he had already shown his lack of recent form in front of goal when he failed to turn in Higginbotham’s low cross from tap-in range, miscuing his shot into the arms of Danby.

Perkins should have doubled Rochdale’s lead before Butler did it for them. Higginbotham was again the main perpetrator in carving open the Chester defence before cutting the ball back to Perkins eight yards out, but he somehow fired straight at Danby.

Rochdale’s lead was doubled when the impressive Howe had Butler in trouble twelve yards out and the former Dale defender could only waft a leg at the ball, diverting it past the helpless Danby.

The second half was a procession for the visitors and they oozed the kind of class that will surely result in a successful season if such performances continue. They have taken seventeen points thus far from the six teams above them in the league and have a chance to increase that tally this Saturday when Peterborough visit Spotland. The game will be seen as a chance to avenge Rochdale’s only away defeat of the season, against Posh on the opening day, and could serve to enhance their credentials as a team that means business at the business end of the season.

Attendance: 2131

Chester: Danby, Vaughan, Butler, Linwood (Roberts 42), Wilson, Partridge (Sandwith 77), Welsh, Grant (Hughes 79), Ellison, Murphy, Lindfield.
Subs not used: Palethorpe, Holroyd.

Booked: Wilson, Butler, Lindfield.

Sent Off: Ellison, Wilson.

Rochdale: Russell, Ramsden, Holness, McArdle (D’Laryea 77), Kennedy, Higginbotham (Muirhead 69), Doolan (Rundle 73), Jones, Perkins, Howe, Le Fondre.
Subs not used: Spencer, Thompson.

Attempts (on target): Chester 8 (2) Rochdale 14 (10)
Free kicks: Chester 19 Rochdale 12
Offside: Chester 2 Rochdale 8
Corners: Chester 3 Rochdale 11

Referee: R Beeby.

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