|Rochdale 1 v 1 Northampton Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 24th November 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Rochdale 1-1 Northampton Town
Tuesday, 24th Nov 2020 21:31 by Chaff
Dale had to settle for a point at home to Northampton Town. A late Stephen Humphrys freekick saw Dale earn a 1-1 draw.
With games coming thick and fast again now, Dale took on Northampton Town at Spotland. A fixture that instantly sparks fond memories of achieving that long long awaited promotion but the reality is that we're currently a side battling bravely just to stay at this level and fond memories in games, especially league games, seem few and far between.
Dale desperately needed to bounce back after Saturday's awful result at home to AFC Wimbledon as well and Northampton, like the Dons on Saturday, are one of the teams we need to out-do in this division to have hopes of extending our stay in League One.
Kick-off had been brought forward to 7pm which was excellent news as it meant we could watch "I'm a Celeb" after the game! At the moment, I think I'd rather do a bushtucker trial than watch Dale let alone watch one! Add to that it was the Great British Bake-Off Final tonight, I nearly said balls to the game!
There was change to the line-up with Stephen Humphrys returning to the starting eleven at the expense of Jimmy Ryan which would indicate a change in system tonight potentially as well. We lined up with Jay Lynch in goal, Jimmy Keohane at right back and Tolaji Bola at left back with Eoghan O'Connell and Haydon Roberts at centre back. Aaron Morley and Matt Lund were in the middle while Alex Newby played wide right and Ollie Rathbone wide left in what looked like a 4-4-2 with Stephen Humphrys and Jake Beesley up front. The bench consisted of Ben Chalton, Ryan McLaughlin, Jim McNulty, Stephen Dooley, Jimmy Ryan, Matt Done and Kwadwo Baah.
Dale got us under way and looked to push forward straight away. In fact I'd say we got off to a decent start and Alex Newby had an early effort well blocked after Rathbone crossed from the left side of the six yard box.
Just a few minutes later and Rathbone had an effort which he smashed over the bar having been laid off by Keohane after a Bola corner.
Northampton began to come into the game more and nearly capitalised on a mistake by Matty Lund. He was caught in possession which gave Smith a chance to shoot but it was well blocked by Roberts.
Dale pushed forward again and Beesley had a low effort easily saved from the edge of the box with about quarter of an hour gone.
With 19 minutes gone, Northampton took the lead. It's very depressing isn't it. It was so easy as well. Smith is stood there in the box, looking as big as The Undertaker and a Marshall corner comes in and he barely has to bloody move and he's scored. He got above O'Connell with the utmost ease and headed past Lynch. So easy and unfortunately so bloody predictable. Northampton led 1-0 in a game where Dale seemed to have had a lot more possession again.
Dale continued to go after the equaliser but a lack of quality meant the few chances we did create were only really half chances. Jimmy Keohane blazed over on 27 minutes.
On the half hour mark, Alex Newby had a free kick. He lined up and looked to hit it with his laces, a little bit like Ronaldo does. Ronaldo scores his whereas this went straight at the goalkeeper. As you can tell, I was getting a little bit agitated now.
Dale did continue to try and push forward and get the equaliser and Humphrys was having to come deep to get involved in the game and looked like our biggest threat. He had a shot go narrowly wide from 25 yards after a short Morley free kick. He had another effort saved by the keeper on the stroke of half time.
The whistle went for half time and Dale were going in behind despite dominating possession again.
The second half saw Ryan McLaughlin come on for Tolaji Bola. He went to right back with Keohane moving flanks to left back.
Dale started the half well and could have been ahead in the first few minutes when an Aaron Morley freekick evaded everyone. It deserved a goal because the ball was superb.
It was pretty much all Dale but, as we've seen so many times, we couldn't break them down and what few chances we did get we weren't taking. Some good work from Rathbone down the left saw the ball fall to Beesley who should have done better but snatched at his effort and it was blocked but heading miles off target.
A few moments later and Matt Lund ballooned one over the bar from a corner that Humphrys stepped over.
With about 20 minutes left, BBM made another change and this time it saw Kwadwo Baah come on for Aaron Morley as Dale went 4-3-3 with Baah slotting in on the left side of a front three it looked like.
His introduction changed everything. He was taking players on and really causing trouble down the left.
Humphrys had another effort but this one he snatched at and it went high and wide and he looked frustrated to waste what was a rare opportunity but he wasn't to be put off by that. With 83 minutes on the clock, Dale won a freekick on the edge of the box after Baah was brought down after another jinking run. Humphrys was always having this. He stepped up and walloped it past the keeper and into the back of the net. A brilliant strike and reward for the efforts put in. Get in! Dale were back in it now and going for a winner.
Jimmy Keohane went close after some more great work from Baah but his shot was pushed wide by the keeper.
Baah was in the action again as he picked up a loose ball on the left, cut inside and his shot was deflected narrowly past the far post.
Four minutes of time added on was held up and it seemed like Dale would have to settle for a point but it was nearly a disastrous end and a long ball upfield from the Cobblers saw Jay Lynch rush out of his goal like the Monk on Mean Machine and then stopped when he realised he couldn't get there and the Northampton forward headed over him and thankfully O'Connell was on hand to cover on the line. A let off really.
Dale did have to settle for a point in the end but it was another game where we dominated the ball but couldn't make the most of it. We saw a big difference with Humphrys coming into the side and Baah also a huge positive on what looked for so long like it was going to be a very frustrating evening. I'm still disappointed to only get a point but I'm more encouraged now than I was on Saturday.
We get another Saturday off now as it's FA Cup weekend on Saturday without us in it so it's a long trip down to Plymouth on Tuesday night.
Jay Lynch- 6 (Did ok, had no chance with the goal but nearly messed up at the end)
Jimmy Keohane - 6 (Seemed to do better when moved to the left)
Eoghan O'Connell - 6 (Beaten far too easily for the goal but did OK other than that)
Haydon Roberts - 7 (Another good performance from the youngster, always shows for the ball)
Tolaji Bola - 5 (Didn't pass forward once I don't think, subbed at half time)
Aaron Morley - 6 (Frustrating to watch when he gives the ball away but did better tonight)
Matty Lund - 6 (Did ok in the middle)
Ollie Rathbone - 6 (Worked hard and got forward when he could but frustrating to see him need 4 touches every time he gets possession)
Alex Newby - 6 (Looked to create but without much look, a twist and turn too many on occasion)
Jake Beesley - 6 (Worked hard as always but empty handed again)
STEPHEN HUMPHRYS - 8 (Man of the match for me and great to see him get off the mark)
Ryan McLaughlin - 7 (Noticed a difference when he came on as we looked to attack more)
Photo: Action Images
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