An­drew’s tonic

Rochdale Observer - - TRAVEL -

THE FA Cup’s magic shone on Rochdale at the Keep­moat Sta­dium on Satur­day as the vis­i­tors de­fied the odds and the form­book to beat Doncaster for a place in the fourth round.

Calvin An­drew’s firsthalf header proved the dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams with Dale with­stand­ing ev­ery­thing Rovers had to throw at them in the sec­ond half, the fi­nal ten min­utes in par­tic­u­lar re­quir­ing strong nerves among the vis­it­ing back­line.

It was a spir­ited dis­play which de­fied the lack of con­fi­dence run­ning through the club in re­cent weeks. And this against a side who came into the tie un­beaten in five games and hav­ing com­fort­ably seen off Keith Hill’s men just eight days ear­lier on the same ground.

Hill made three changes to the side that started against Black­pool on New Year’s Day.

The Dale boss is no stranger to spring­ing sur­prises in his team line-ups for cup ties – though he would ar­gue 16-year-old Daniel Ad­shead fully de­served his place and only missed out against Black­pool be­cause of the pre­car­i­ous na­ture of the club’s league po­si­tion and the po­ten­tial for the at­mos­phere in that game to be a lit­tle much for the young­ster to be ex­posed to. Joe Bun­ney and Jim McNulty also re­turned to the start­ing XI.

The omis­sion from the squad of Cal­lum Camps was sure to raise eye­brows and – given the open­ing of the trans­fer win­dow this month – will no doubt spark spec­u­la­tion as to why he was left out for such an im­por­tant match.

Given both teams’ re­cent re­sults it was no sur­prise to see Doncaster start the game brightly with­out cre­at­ing much by way of goal­mouth threat.

Mo­men­tum started to sway Rochdale’s way when Matty Done, back in an at­tack­ing role, flashed a cross-come-shot across the face of goal and just past the up­right on the quar­ter hour mark.

And three min­utes later came what proved the only goal of the game.

Niall Mason fouled Andy Can­non on the right-hand side, and Joe Bun­ney whipped the set­piece into the area. An­drew rose high­est to send a glanc­ing header be­yond Rovers’ stop­per Ian Lawlor, who was left rooted to the spot.

Rovers came close to equal­is­ing just af­ter the half-hour mark when Rod­ney Kon­golo’s cross was met by John Mar­quis, but his strike was straight at Josh Lil­lis, who also saved Matty Blair’s lon­grange ef­fort.

Lawlor then had to be alert to pre­vent Dale from dou­bling the lead on the stroke of half-time, as Bun­ney’s cross from the left al­most crept in at the far post, but the Ir­ish­man got across well to tip around the post with An­drew lurk­ing.

The sec­ond half was cat and mouse – Doncaster look­ing to press for a goal to keep the tie alive, Rochdale a threat on the counter look­ing to score a sec­ond.

Lil­lis made a su­perb save in the 54th minute, fly­ing across his goalline to deny Al­fie Beestin from six-yards.

Heed­ing the warning, Dale turned up their own pur­suit of a sec­ond and went close when Ian Hen­der­son shot on tar­get from 20 yards. Lawlor dived to his right as the ef­fort dinked just past his post.

The vis­i­tors came close again on the hour mark when Bun­ney rat­tled a pow­er­ful ef­fort nar­rowly wide of the up­right from the edge of the area.

Dale’s first sub­sti­tu­tion of the game soon fol­lowed, Ad­shead re­placed by the ex­pe­ri­enced head of Keith Keane.

Dar­ren Fer­gu­son’s teamwent ag­o­nis­ingly close to lev­el­ling the score when Rod­ney Kon­golo’s hard work and neat turn down the right saw him play the ball in­side for John Mar­quis, but the striker’s shot from

Si­mon Hall

Kgosi Ntlhe gets Dale mov­ing forward against Doncaster in the FA Cup third round clash

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