Point of re­lief to end test­ing week

Middleton Guardian - - LEISURE -

SKY BET LEAGUE ONE ROCHDALE ....................... 0 BURY .................................. 0

ATOUGH old week at the Crown Oil Arena ended with a wel­come point from the derby clash against Bury.

Given the way things had gone for Keith Hill and his back­room team in the build up to the game – los­ing a num­ber of play­ers to ill­ness and in­jury – not to men­tion the fact the man­ager was forced to make two changes by half time, de­feat against the neigh­bours would have capped off a try­ing few days for the club.

It’s fair to say there will be more en­ter­tain­ing, eas­ier-on-the-eye spec­ta­cles at the sta­dium this sea­son – but the avoid­ance of de­feat in such dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances was a pos­i­tive.

“The game was okay in the first half and I was rel­a­tively pleased,” said Hill. “We had op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­ond half but we didn’t just make enough of the pos­ses­sion that we had in terms of clear cut chances.

“But I’m just happy that we got through the game, be­cause if I’m be­ing hon­est with you, I could have got in the car an hour be­fore kick-off and drove home. I’m at my end of my tether with cer­tain sit­u­a­tions that are de­vel­op­ing.

“There are so many things that are trip­ping us up that it al­most feels like there’s some agenda against us that isn’t our fault.

“The play­ers that rep­re­sented us today were mag­nif­i­cent, when you con­sider that we had to make two sub­sti­tu­tions in the first half again and all my op­tions go­ing into the em­bers of the game are gone.

“It’s dif­fi­cult at this mo­ment in time, so from a philo­soph­i­cal per­spec­tive, I’m happy.”

Had the open­ing 25 sec­onds of the con­test been any­thing to go by, we might have been in for a humdinger. Jor­dan Wil­liams got in be­hind his name­sake – Jor­dan Wil­liams of Bury – and squared the ball across the six-yard line for Ian Hen­der­son, whose ef­fort was blocked by Nathan Cameron.

But that was as ex­cit­ing as the first half ac­tion got. What fol­lowed was frag­mented pas­sages of play short on qual­ity from both sides, the stop start na­ture of the game not helped by nig­gling fouls and stop­pages for in­juries.

The most se­ri­ous be­fell left-back Kgosi Ntlhe, who dam­aged his shoul­der and, de­spite ini­tially try- ing to play on, even­tu­ally am­bled off clearly in some dis­com­fort.

The few flashes of qual­ity on show came al­most ex­clu­sively from Steven Davies - but his af­ter­noon was cut short af­ter a seem­ingly in­nocu­ous chal­lenge left him dazed and af­fected his vi­sion. He saw out the re­main­der of the first half but did not emerge for the sec­ond.

The first half pe­tered out with Ro­han Ince’s 20-yard drive two min­utes into first half time added on, col­lected by Bren­dan Moore, and the first shot on target in the game.

There was more in­ci­dent to get the pulses raised if not rac­ing af­ter the in­ter­val.

A poor back pass in the open­ing min­utes of the sec­ond half of­fered a chance for Matt Done to go one on one against Joe Mur­phy, but Done’s first touch was heavy and the Shak­ers’ goal­keeper forced him wide enough to quell the dan­ger.

Bury’s game­plan was dealt a huge blow in the 53rd minute when Mur­phy col­lected a pass for­ward into his midriff on the edge of the box – but af­ter con­sult­ing with his lines­man, ref­eree John Brooks is­sued a red card to the goal­keeper for han- dling the ball out­side his goal area.

A fine run by Wil­liams down the left saw the for­mer Bar­row winger cut in­side the full­back and square for Done, but the Bury de­fence twice blocked Rochdale at­tempts to strike the ball goal­ward.

Wil­liams and Hen­der­son linked up well in the 71st minute, Hen­der­son feed­ing the winger in the area nd Wil­liams skip­ping around a cou­ple of chal­lenges be­fore send­ing a side-footed ef­fort to­wards the cor­ner of re­place­ment keeper Leo Fasan’s goal, the Shak­ers’ stop­per div­ing to his left to deny Dale.

There­after, the Shak­ers de­fence sat deep and dealt with Dale’s at­tempts to break them down, in do­ing so earn­ing a de­served share of the spoils.

‘It feels like there’s some agenda against us that isn’t our fault’

An­thony Devlin

Rochdale man­ager Keith Hill has had a dif­fi­cult time deal­ing with ill­ness and in­jury among the squad

An­thony Devlin

Kgosi Ntlhe

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