Dale dig deep to
ROCHDALE emerged from Bloomfield Road with a worthy point on Tuesday as Keith Hill’s men rose one place in the League One table.
A draw on the road at Blackpool has been a rare commodity in recent times – this was the first occasion in eight fixtures that the Seasiders had failed to win on home turf, a run of form that had lifted them into the playoff places on their return to the division earlier this year.
Under Gary Bowyer they are a team on the up – so this was a highly creditable point so far as Dale were concerned.
It stretched their own unbeaten run to three games and, like the previous three fixtures, they picked up another clean sheet.
The home side were strongest during the first half, while Dale improved going forward after the interval and came close to a winner, Ian Henderson’s effort brilliantly kept out by Ryan Allsopp in the Blackpool goal.
Hill made a couple of changes to the side from Saturday’s 3-0 win over Gillingham with Donervon Daniels and Jordan Williams coming in for Joe Rafferty and Steven Davies.
It was a real chess match of a contest from the off.
The home side had the best chance of the half early on. Sean Longstaff had already slipped a shot wide of the near post when, in the 11th minute, Sessi D’Almeida dispossessed Harrison McGahey on the edge of his own area and looked destined to score only for Josh Lillis to win their one-on-one duel.
Lillis was also equal to a long-distance Callum Cooke effort and then watched the ball fly over his crossbar when the resulting corner was met by the head of Curtis Tilt eight from goal.
Dale were not without openings, though they would come into the half chance bracket. Jordan Williams headed Joe Bunney’s left wing centre over the crossbar, Henderson had a header saved by Allsop who later held on to the ball after Rathbone’s effort took a deflection on its way towards the target.
The visitors started to create more chances with the introduction of Calvin Andrew for the last half hour of the game.
Henderson’s sent a shot curling just wide of the near post, before Rathbone’s deflected effort from outside the area with his left foot went behind for a corner while Blackpool managed to keep a Bunney delivery from finding its way into the net when his centre was headed off the line.
There was a close call for Dale when Longstaff’s low ball from the left went all the way across the face of the goal, where Viv Solomon-Otabor sent the ball wide on the slide.
The teams traded efforts as Bunney’s free-kick was held by Allsop, while Longstaff’s long range effort flew narrowly over.
Dale’s best chance of the game came three minutes from time. MJ Williams’ lay off to Henderson saw the Dale skipper to curl a left footed effort to the far post, only to be denied by a superb diving save from Allsop who clawed the ball away from
‘Even if we had lost, I would have been really encouraged with our away performance’
the top corner of his net.
The resulting corner was only partially cleared away, allowing Andrew to send a cross back into the area.
Fellow sub Steven Davies met it, but headed
●●Josh Lillis kept his third successive clean sheet for Rochdale at Blackpool on Tuesday