Spot­land side are right in the hunt

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Si­mon Smed­ley

THE COUNT­DOWN has started at Spot­land – 16 games that will de­ter­mine whether or not Keith Hill gets to en­joy an­other cham­pagne mo­ment with Rochdale.

Hill’s side showed all the hall­marks of au­to­matic pro­mo­tion con­tenders as they came from be­hind to de­servedly beat gutsy More­cambe.

With Dale now just five points off the top and one shy of the au­to­matic spots while boast­ing a game in hand on those above them it cer­tainly looks like a grand­stand fin­ish is in sight.

And af­ter goals from Scott Ho­gan and Ian Hen­der­son saw off More­cambe, as­sis­tant man­ager Chris Beech ad­mit­ted his side were in form at the right time.

Beech said: “That was a to­tally hard­fought vic­tory, but it was a win which again showed ex­actly what we’re all about this sea­son.

“The lads of­fered lots of en­ergy and at­ti­tude, and gen­er­ally we went about our whole busi­ness bril­liantly.

“I think that’s 16 games left for us now, and it’ll still be dif­fi­cult be­cause there’s some top teams in this di­vi­sion who play some great foot­ball.

“We’ve shown what we can of­fer again though, what we’re ca­pa­ble of, so if we just try and main­tain this level of per­for­mance then I don’t think we’ll be too far away.

“More­cambe are a good side and are al­ways dif­fi­cult to break down, so it’s credit to our lads again for com­ing away with the vic­tory.”

Af­ter a wet and mis­er­able Lan­cashire morn­ing it took ref­eree Ge­off El­tring­ham three in­spec­tions to fi­nally pass the pitch fit at 2pm.

But the grounds mens’ hard work paid off as both sets of fans were treated to a ter­rific first half at Spot­land.

Andrew Flem­ing and Jack Red­shaw both went close for the Shrimps, be­fore Rochdale grew into the game and the lively Hen­der­son forced vet­eran ‘keeper Barry Roche into a smart save.

The game truly burst into life thanks to a goal from each side just past the half-hour mark. The Shrimps bagged first, with the tricky Red­shaw vol­ley­ing home his fourth goal of the sea­son from close range af­ter good work down the left from Andrew Wright.

Just three min­utes later it was 1-1, how­ever, when Ho­gan skipped past Mark Hughes be­fore drilling past Roche to reg­is­ter his 16th of the sea­son - and his fourth in two games.

The hosts dom­i­nated the sec­ond pe­riod, with Hen­der­son only de­nied a sec­ond goal by a su­per stop from Roche just min­utes af­ter the restart.

Matt Lund drilled a low shot inches wide and Ho­gan threat­ened to dou­ble his tally dur­ing an­other ex­cel­lent per­sonal ef­fort, be­fore the match-clinch­ing strike came with 17 min­utes left on the clock.

Left-back Matty Done guided the ball neatly into the path of Hen­der­son, and the livewire wing-back drilled his ninth goal of the sea­son home su­perbly past Roche to send Spot­land wild.

Jamie De­vitt saw an ef­fort hacked off the line by Done, but that was pretty much as close as it got for the Shrimps in the sec­ond pe­riod and so their stut­ter­ing run continues.

Jim Bent­ley’s men are with­out a win in their last seven games.

The Shrimps boss put on a brave face, how­ever. He said:“It’s a frus­trat­ing one. We’ve come up against a re­ally good top three or four side, and we started well.

“We got the first goal and at that point I felt we were good value for it.

“In those sit­u­a­tions you need to tighten up for five min­utes though.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing that we let a team like Rochdale back into the game so quickly, and that only gives them a lift.We had our mo­ments in the sec­ond half, but the ball just wouldn’t fall for us for one rea­son or an­other.

“We’ve given a good ac­count of our­selves. I can’t fault the play­ers for their ef­fort and com­mit­ment. They’ve def­i­nitely shown a pride in the shirt.”

SWEET STRIKE: Rochdale’s Ian Hen­der­son tries a shot on goal


EL ROSE Rochda


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