A ROLL WITH DALE AGAIN
Spotland side are right in the hunt
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
STAR MAN MICHA
EL ROSE Rochda