Hill’s gang start with a bang as Dale cruise
KEITH Hill was left purring after his new-look Rochdale ripped Hartlepool United apart.
Dale, with five new players in their starting XI, ensured Colin Cooper suffered a miserable opening match as Pools manager.
Pools were relegated last season and seem to be still suffering a hangover, while Dale appear to be building on the progress Hill made in the last campaign.
“It’s the first game, we won 3-0 – it probably doesn’t get any better than that,’’ reflected Hill.“We dominated in certain areas of the game, and could have found ourselves one-down as they had the first chance.
“It could have been 1-1 at the start of the second-half as they had a glorious chance to score.
“It could have undermined the energy and enthusiasm and determination we showed.We want that intelligent end to the game – we got it and I’m really pleased.
“Looking at the game, it’s really pleasing and we had five new players in the team as well.’’
Pools could have gone ahead early when Antony Sweeney screwed a closerange header wide after advancing in the area, before keeper Josh Lillis made a save from Jon Franks.
But Scott Hogan opened up the Pools’ defence and confidently cracked a low finish into the corner of the net.
Peter Vincenti caused plenty of problems out
wide and he poked wide from close range after a teasing Michael Rose freekick was flicked on.
Two minutes into the second-half and Sweeney again contrived to miss a header from close range and Andy Monkhouse pushed the loose ball wide.
And within minutes, Dale had the game clinically wrapped up.
Debutant defender Christian Burgess fouled Matthew Lund in the area and George Donnelly drilled the penalty home in style.
Six minutes later and it was three and game over. Striker Ian Henderson was one on one with Sam Collins and skipped by the defender with ease before clipping a delightful finish over the advancing Scott Flinders. “It’s terribly disappointing,’’ said Cooper, who was appointed manager in the summer after John Hughes was sacked. “That isn’t what you want to happen, so of course it’s disappointing.
“All I’ve said is be honest.We have made mistakes at both ends of the field today and we move on.
“We had chances, and goals change games. It’s happened and looking back isn’t good for anyone. In football everyone makes mistakes in all areas, it’s how you react after a mistake.”