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Rochdale 0 v 0 Plymouth Argyle
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 20th February 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Rochdale 0-0 Plymouth Argyle
Match Report: Rochdale 0-0 Plymouth Argyle
Saturday, 20th Feb 2021 17:12 by Chaff

Dale ended a losing streak with a point at home to Plymouth Argyle but also kept an incredibly rare clean sheet as well. A much better second half performance made it seem like a great opportunity not taken.

Dale were back at Spotland this weekend for the first in a huge trio of games that would potentially define our season. Plymouth Argyle were the visitors and Dale would be hoping for the same fortunes that saw us batter them at Home Park. The form book would suggest there's Bob Hope and no hope of that.

In a week that's seen the Chairman resign, an advertisement for a "Sporting Director" to help BBM, and BBM's pre-match comments tell us "Our performances recently have been very good and the lads are in very good form", Dale fans were suffering a lack of optimism I think it's fair to say.

The team news didn't help when we saw Matt Lund wasn't starting as he was ill, though thankfully, Paul McShane was back. Here's the team news from the clubs Twitter:

Dale kicked off wearing the blue and black home kit while Plymouth were in white shirts and green shorts and socks.

With just two minutes gone, Plymouth should have been ahead. Poor from Osho who gave the ball away in a poor position and the ball came across from the left and Camara's header was saved well by Bazunu. A clear warning sign early doors.

Dale did get away on 6 minutes when a ricochet saw Baah get away from his man but lost his composure and the chance disappeared.

It seems like a 4-4-2 system which I thought it would be but Baah up front with Humphrys instead of Newby who was wide on the right wing with Rathbone on the left.

Danny Mayor, former Bury "best player outside the Premiership" got past Newby so bloody easily and his drilled cross was initially spilled by Bazunu but clawed back again at the second attempt.

Plymouth continued to push forward and another cross from the left found Moore at the back post having been missed by McShane and Keohane who looked a little too central. Moore's shot flew narrowly high and wide of the net.

With 22 minutes gone, Bazunu was again called into action. Osho again gives the ball away and it led to a wonderful through ball being played through and Bazunu came racing out just in time to get there before Moore to nullify the threat. Good goalkeeping that but Plymouth definitely looked like the more likely to score.

Another let off for Dale as Morley missed a ball that went across his own box and the ball across deflected off Ennis and went narrowly wide.

Dale did half a half chance, well a quarter chance in reality. A long Shaughnessy throw found O'Connell in the box and the effort was easy enough for Cooper in the Plymouth net.

Plymouth were awarded a free kick on 38 minutes after a foul by Rathbone but the free kick from Conor Grant (not ours), was easily saved by Bazunu.

The half time whistle went and the score, surprisingly, was 0-0. When was the last time that happened? That being said, we simply haven't created anywhere near enough to look like we can win the game yep.

Dale a change at half time with Gabriel Osho making way for Ryan McLaughlin. Osho had struggled throughout the half and looked lost really at right back but also went down at the end of the half and needed treatment.

The first chance of the half fell to Dale who were awarded a freekick after a foul on Shaughnessy. The freekick was taken low and passed to Humphrys who managed to get a shot away which was saved before a foul was given.

Shaughnessy had a shot on goal but his effort was simple for Cooper. Baah had done well to win the ball back and play it to Humphrys who did a lovely little flick into the path of Shaughnessy. Positive signs for Dale.

With 58 minutes gone Plymouth had another good chance. Niall Ennis turned O'Connell a little too easily and blasted a shot goalwards but it was straight at Bazunu thankfully. Either side and it's 1-0.

Matty Lund was being readied to come on despite having been deemed too ill to start the game.

More good play from Dale, started with Morley who fed a lovely ball into Rathbone who drove forward well and laid off to Newby who laid off to Humphrys who laid off to Shaughnessy who blasted over the bar. Good move from Dale.

Matty Lund did enter the play and replaced Conor Shaughnessy who is evidently still getting up to speed with his new squad but he'd done alright.

Dale were awarded a freekick just outside the 18 yard box for handball. Morley's free kick was scrambled clear to Baah who couldn't connect properly and hits it wide. Again, more positive viewing.

WHAT A SAVE! Rathbone again does brilliantly to drive forward and lays off to Baah who also drives but has to turn back to Keohane who played in Morley who hammered an effort on goal and a quite brilliant save from Cooper tips the effort over the bar.

Lund's appearance was short lived as he was clattered and couldn't put much weight on his foot at all afterwards. He was forced off and replaced by Matt Done. Done went straight up front and even had a shot pretty much straight away which was saved by Cooper.

Dale continued to push and push, something we've not seen anywhere near enough. Baah was causing problems for the visitors. Done was looking a threat too. A point is going to feel like a huge opportunity missed.

There were 6 minutes of stoppage time added on, could there be a late winner?

A great chance in the dying seconds as Keohane forced Cooper into clawing away a shot after Morley had swung the ball in. Superb from the Plymouth stopper. The whistle blew for full time.

A miles better second half mean Dale were unfortunate not to pick up three points but would a point be enough? Who knows yet? The next week or so will determine that but there were a lot of positives there that we absolutely have to take into the remainder of the season.

Next up is a huge game against managerless Northampton Town. How big does that game feel now?

Player Ratings:

Gavin Bazunu - 6 (Did alright throughout. A very rare clean sheet will feel good)

Gabriel Osho - 5 (Poor again from Osho, struggled to deal with Mayor and Grant)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Him and McShane looked so much better together)

Paul McShane- 7 (What a difference he makes to the defence. Really missed him)

Jimmy Keohane - 7 (Did well today both defensively and got forward well)

Aaron Morley - 7 (Went closest for Dale and did well)

Conor Shaughnessy - 7 (Did much better this week, couple of chances and nice little passes. There's a player there)

OLLIE RATHBONE - 7 (My man of the match, thought he broke up play better than anyone else and got forward really well)

Alex Newby - 6 (Did better than Tuesday but really only looks effective in the final third)

Kwadwo Baah - 7 (Caused them problems second half and worked very hard)

Stephen Humphrys - 6 (Worked extremely hard but didn't quite come off for him)


Ryan McLaughlin -7 (Does well nearly every time he plays, just wish he could play more
Matty Lund - Not sure he touched the ball before being forced off injured.
Matt Done - 7 (Caused problems when he came on, did well)
Conor Grant - 6 (Not seen anything from him yet)

Photo: Action Images

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