Stevenage 4 - 2 Rochdale
Date published: 04 September 2011
Rochdale went down to a third straight league defeat at the hands of newly promoted Stevenage at a very warm Broadhall Way Stadium.
Goals from Gary Jones and debutant David Ball weren’t enough to earn anything from a game that in all honesty was over by half-time.
The Dale manager made three changes to the side that lost to Hartlepool last week. Jake Kean got the nod ahead of Dave Lucas in goal whilst Neal Trotman surprisingly replaced Marcus Holness. New loan signing from Peterborough David Ball started upfront with Nicky Adams dropping to the bench
Rochdale started the game very brightly and had to good opportunities to score inside 4 minutes. Ball played a sweet pass to Akpa-Akpro but the Frenchman’s shot was blocked by the legs of Day. Moment’s later Akpa-Akpro found space on the edge of the area but his curling effort was just over. Gary Jones saw a 25 yard volley flash wide as Eyre’s men looked edge in front.
As with recent games, Dale looked lively early on but failed to capitalise and again were punished. Slack defending from a deep left wing cross allowed Craig Reid the space on the edge of the area to smash past Kean for 1-0.
Dale looked rattled and a well worked corner routine almost led to a second for the home side but Kean stretched out a right foot to deny.
Referee Phillips was called into action around 20 minutes when Stephen Darby was caught in possession at last man by Chris Beardsley but the official gave a soft freekick, much to the relief of the on loan Liverpool full back.
Dale tried to get a foot hold in the game and worked some good positions, particularly down the right. Darby whipped a delightful cross but Akpa-Akpro, at full stretch couldn’t head home.
Eyre’s men got their reward just before the half hour mark through skipper Jones but really Grimes should have scored. David Ball saw sight of goal but saw his shot parried to Grimes who with an open goal decided to take a touch which allowed Bostwick to challenge at the expense of a corner. From the flag kick, Jones thundered a volley from 20 yards past Day for 1-1.
Rochdale were only on level terms for 90 seconds. Craig Reid shot from distance but Kean spilled and Beardsley was quickest to react to slide in and push the ball beyond Kean.
With the clock fast approaching half time, Stevenage pulled the killer blow. With the last kick of the half, Beardsley turned Balkestein on the edge of the area and curled a wonderful shot into the top corner giving Kean no chance.
Steve Eyre’s side seem to have a habit of giving themselves a mountain to climb during the second half of games and again they had to start brightly if they were to gain anything from this one. Dale saw lots of the ball but without really causing Stevenage too much trouble.
The home side had the ball in the net again 8 minutes after the re-start but the referee ruled it out and booked Reid although nobody actually saw what the official saw!
Dale started to push on in search of a way back into the game. Trotman saw a looping header hit the top of the bar whilst Grimes had a shot pushed away by Day but then the game was taken totally out of the reach of the visitors.
A long free-kick was inadvertently flicked on by Balkestein which caused mayhem inside the Dale box and when Kean and Trotman challenged for the same ball, the centre half knocked the ball into his own net to make it 4-1.
Ball did mark his debut with a goal almost from the re-start when he held off Bostwick and fired a low shot into the bottom corner to give Dale hope.
Rochdale rallied with Ball having a shot deflected wide whilst a mistake in the home defence almost gifted Dale a goal. Substitute Barnes-Homer sent a raking ball over the home defence which the keeper came rushing out of his area to clear but got his angles all wrong and the ball bounced over his head and unfortunately for Dale a covering defender cleared.
All in all a disappointing day for Rochdale as they still search that first elusive league win of the season and with a short trip to Bury next week, Dale fans will hope they can notch their first maximum of the season there.
Steve Eyre spoke afterwards “2 goals away from home should at least guarantee you a point from the game but it looks at the moment that we have to score 3 or 4 goals to get anything from any game. We are too loose and too sloppy in and around the penalty area which means we can’t get a foothold in the game. I thought there was a lack of desire in the 18 yard box and Stevenage scored goals out of nothing that shouldn’t go in anyone’s goal. We dominated the first 15 minutes from the kick off and created 2 chances if not 3 but we didn’t score and the first chance Stevenage get and the balls in the back of the net. Jonah returned the favour with a superb volley and we should be looking to boss the game for the next 5 or 10 minutes but we didn’t and allowed them in again. Sometimes you have to take your hat off to the technique and ability and the 3rd goal was a great finish and we can accept those but the other 3 we cannot.”
N Power League One
Stevenage 4-2 Rochdale
Reid 13 Jones 28
Beardsley 30, 45+2 Ball 71
Trotman (70 Og)
Rochdale: Kean, Widdowson, Balkestein (Holness 90), Trotman, Darby, Tutte, Jones (c), Kennedy (Barnes-Homer 65), Grimes (Adams 64), Ball, Akpa-Akpro
Subs: (Not used) Lucas, Barry-Murphy
Stevenage: Day, Charles (Walker 69), Bostwick, Roberts (c), Henry, Laird, Byrom (Edwards 77), Mousinho, Wilson, Reid (May 79) , Beardsley
Subs: (Not used) Julian, Shroot
Referee: Mr D Phillips
Assistant referees: Mr C Hicks, Mr W Northcott
4th Official: Mr A Sannerude
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