The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Les Scott

AF­TER his side were held to a goal­less draw by Ch­ester­field, Rochdale man­ager Keith Hill ad­mit­ted he has plenty left to do be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes.

Both sides slipped out of the top six af­ter this stale­mate but still har­bour hopes of pro­mo­tion, with Hill hop­ing to move three Dale play­ers out and get three re­in­force­ments to bol­ster their chances.

Rochdale took the plau­dits for some fine one-touch football and but for a com­bi­na­tion of fine goal­keep­ing from home keeper Tommy Lee and some way­ward fin­ish­ing, could have trav­elled back over the Pen­nines with all three points.

Both goal­keep­ers turned in ex­cel­lent dis­plays, but it was Dale’s Donal McDer­mott who caught the eye with another ex­cel­lent per­for­mance.

“I thought we were by far the bet­ter team, par­tic­u­larly in the first half,” said Hill. “We played some out­stand­ing stuff and, on any other day, might have had a penalty.

“We had to cope with some in­juries but those who came on equipped them­selves well. It was the sort of team per­for­mance I have been look­ing for, ev­ery­one sup­port­ing and work­ing hard for one another.

“That said, I thought Donal McDer­mott was far and away the out­stand­ing player on the pitch to­day. From start to fin­ish he never fal­tered and was al­ways a threat to the op­po­si­tion.

On the trans­fer sit­u­a­tion, Hill added: “If I was to leave my wife, I wouldnt tell any­one who I was leav­ing her for. I have play­ers in mind but they have to be within our bud­get. I do feel we need to add to what we have if we are to build on this per­for­mance and the promis­ing start we have made.”

In the first pe­riod Ian Evatt went close for Ch­ester­field with two head­ers while Syl­van Ebanks-Blake was un­lucky not to give the home side the lead when his far­post header was bril­liantly kept out by Josh Lil­lis.

Rochdale can con­sider them­selves un­lucky not have had a penalty on 78 min­utes when Drew Tal­bot ap­peared to han­dle McDer­mott’s cross, the ref­eree wav­ing away Dale’s ap­peals.

The near­est ei­ther side came to break­ing the dead­lock in the sec­ond-half was when McDer­mott’s 20-yard shot was palmed to safety by Lee at full stretch.

“It was a great game to watch, one of those rare en­ter­tain­ing goal­less draws,” said Spire­ites man­ager Dean Saun­ders. “We were not our usual selves in the first half. We gave the ball away and our move­ment was not quick enough. We were for­tune to get away with it against a team who I think will be there or there­abouts come May.

“That said we im­proved in the sec­ond half. Their goal­keeper pulled off some good saves but Tommy Lee had to be at his best to keep us in it. The fact we let the op­po­si­tion back into the game will be some­thing we shall be work­ing on this week.

“We have to show more and quicker move­ment on and off the ball. Close sides down and en­sure when we do cre­ate chances, we take one of them.”

PIC­TURES: Dan West­well

CLASH: Syl­van Ebanks-Blake (right) & Rochdale’s Joseph Raf­ferty bat­tle for the ball

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