Dale dig deep to

Rochdale Observer - - SPORT -

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

Sean Hans­ford

●●Josh Lil­lis kept his third suc­ces­sive clean sheet for Rochdale at Black­pool on Tues­day

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