RAFFERTY CLANGER SETTLES IT
BURTON Albion boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink highlighted his side’s ‘professionalism’ after watching them dig deep to down Rochdale.
A Joe Rafferty own goal in the first half was all that divided the highflyers as the Brewers moved to third spot in the early season table.
Albion then showed plenty of their trademark defensive skills during the second half to shut Rochdale out.
A delighted Hasselbaink said: “I am happy with what I saw out there, that was our most consistent display of the season.
“We respect Rochdale and knew that this was going to be a very difficult game. Rochdale are a good side who can mix it up and we knew we had to compete and match them.
“We needed a response from the Coventry defeat and that is what we got.
“We should have finished the game off and made it two or three nil, but it was a very professional performance.
“We had to make changes in midfield and make it difficult for Rochdale and those changes worked well.”
Rochdale boss Keith Hill said he was disappointed by his players’ performance as they unsuccessfully pushed for an equaliser.
“I think we showed a lack of intelligence in our search of an equaliser and I expect more intelligence from this group of players to be honest,” he said.
“Sometimes when you panic you do desperate things and things that are not a true reflection on your character.
“We moved away from our true character more in the second half than we have done all season.We were too lethargic in possession
“The goal was frustrating, Joe Rafferty says he was pushed and I can’t argue that there was a slight push, but he needs to be stronger.
“It is not all about Joe Rafferty, we should have defended the first phase better.”
Lucas Akins fired high and wide, before Matty Lund had a goalbound piledriver blocked for the visitors during a cagey opening.
Mark Duffy wastefully fired wide after Akins’ bursting run through midfield had created space on 20 minutes.
Rafferty headed Akins' free-kick past his own goalkeeper on 24 minutes to give Albion the lead seconds after they had subbed injured goal- keeper Jon McLaughlin.
Ian Henderson's powerful effort was well blocked by Damien McCrory as Rochdale started well after the halftime interval.
Calvin Andrew badly mis-timed a header on 70 minutes when free in the box as the visitors struggled to create any meaningful chances.
Akins screwed a shot wide from the edge of the box two minutes later as high-flying Albion looked to wrap up the points.
Josh Lillis kept Rochdale’s hopes alive when he denied Stuart Beavon and Phil Edwards with smart saves.
SUPER CAL-Y: Burton’s Calum Butcher gets a shot in on the Rochdale goal
LUC AT ME: Lucas Akins skips past Thomas Kennedy
STAR MAN JOHN MOUSI