De­pleted Dale put up brave show­ing

Rochdale Observer - - SPORT - DAVID RHODES

ROCHDALE ar­rived for their sec­ond visit of the sea­son to Grove Park with a much changed side after last week’s promis­ing per­for­mance against Black­burn.

Points were needed against the ex­pe­ri­enced Manch­ester team who had proved too strong for them in the re­cent cup tie here.

Rochdale’s de­fence was tested from the start with strong runs from Brian Ndlovu and Jake Ste­wart only be­ing stopped by de­ter­mined tack­ling and a good re­liev­ing kick from Ol­l­lie Cold­man to half way, then it was all Dale with only the fi­nal pass let­ting them down.

Manch­ester were con­tent to clear with the boot on most at­tacks with their fly half McCart­ney look­ing to get be­hind Dale’s de­fence with high kicks that tested the full back Cold­man, from one of these raids they broke through and only a des­per­ate early tackle from Tom Hel­li­well stopped the ram­pag­ing Ste­wart but the ref­eree de­cided he was tack­led with­out the ball and pe­nalised the vis­i­tors yel­low card­ing the Rochdale sec­ond row.

From the penalty and line out the ball was again punted over the rush de­fence and the Manch­ester winger Doug Day raced in for a try which was not con­verted 5-0.

Travis Townsend was hav­ing a great game at scrum half for Dale and made sev­eral breaks from the base of the scrum which the home side strug­gled to stop.

But it was Manch­ester who scored next after 15 min­utes, the Dale de­fence opened up as Ndlovu again powered through to score un­der the posts. The con­ver­sion went over 12-0.

Good Dale pres­sure led to Blair Henry be­ing stopped just short of the line and plenty of Dale pos­ses­sion saw a penalty awarded in front of the posts and Cold­man made no mis­take 12-3 with 20 min­utes gone.

Great runs by both Townsend and Josh Schofield kept the home de­fence busy with Cold­man try­ing the same tac­tic as the home side. A high kick was taken by Henry com­ing in­side from his wing but he was hit high and late by the Manch­ester No. 8 Ndlovu although Blair was out cold for sev­eral min­utes the ref de­cided not to pe­nalise the de­fender to the amaze­ment of the trav­el­ling sup­port­ers.

After a five minute de­lay the game re­sumed with Blair off the field and with no backs subs avail­able it fell to cap­tain Tom Cal­laghan to come off the bench and go into the pack, a move which strengthen the Dale de­fence.

Schofield was again ac­tion too quick for most of the Manch­ester and only a cyn­i­cal tackle by the No. 8 stopped him again with no ac­tion taken by the ref­eree.

Manch­ester were back on the at­tack but a loose pass in their own half led to Schofield get­ting some jus­tice as he in­ter­cepted bril­liantly to score from 30 me­tres. Cold­man pro­vided the ex­tra points 12-10 with min­utes to go to half time.

Fol­low­ing an­other great run by Townsend the ball was dropped and from the re­sult­ing scrum Manch­ester got the ball to their best player winger Day who scored by the posts de­spite des­per­ate Dale de­fence the try was con­verted to leave the half time score 19-10 and the game wide open.

The sec­ond half started with Dale press­ing with all the lads play­ing with a de­ter­mined look about them.

Manch­ester were again pe­nalised for a man tack­led in the air at a Dale line out – no card again – and then an­other penalty for off­side, the ref warn­ing the home side cap­tain about re­peated in­fringe­ments with­out taken the sanc­tion of the card.

After an­other Scofield break the ball was lost on half way and Manch­ester made the most of their chance, the ever present Day scor­ing and con­vert­ing his own try for 26-10.

Five min­utes later it was the big No.8 who bat­tered his way through the Dale de­fence to score un­der the posts, 33-10 with 55 min­utes gone.

The free kick count against the home side con­tin­ued to grow with a penalty for feed­ing at the scrum a rare event these days fol­lowed by a de­lib­er­ate ob­struc­tion on half way, again no card but on Dale went.

Fi­nally, de­spite be­ing down to 14 men when Townsend was hurt in a tackle, they got a well de­served sec­ond try when Cold­man fed Wil­letts to score un­der the posts for 33-17.

Manch­ester were now throw­ing the ball around look­ing for the gaps when a loose pass on half way fell to Schofield who took the ball 30 me­tres to score a great third try for the vis­i­tors con­verted by Cold­man – 33-24 and game on!

From the re-start Dale had the ball in their own 22 when a sloppy pass led to an al­most iden­ti­cal in­ter­cep­tion try for the home side con­verted by Day, the score with 10 min­utes to go 40-24.

De­spite their best ef­forts and be­ing for a pe­riod down to 13 men, Dale hung on un­til fi­nally the Manch­ester scrum half Ding sneaked in to score in the cor­ner.

Day the winger had a big say in the next try as he broke from a tackle and fed the big No. 8 Ndlovu for his sec­ond try 54-24 with min­utes to go.

Manch­ester rounded off the scor­ing in the fi­nal minute and con­vert­ing to make the fi­nal score 61-24.

Dale were just short of their fourth try and a bonus point when the ref­eree blew the fi­nal whis­tle in a great pul­sat­ing match in which the much de­pleted vis­it­ing side bat­tled to the end.

Next Satur­day Dale en­ter­tain newly pro­moted Carlisle at Moor­gate Av­enue hop­ing for a full side and bet­ter luck.

Ac­tion from Rochdale game at Manch­ester in North One West at the week­end

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