THOUGHTFUL KEITH REAPS THE REWARDS AS SUB PROVES KEY
KEITH Hill’s deliberating paid dividends as Rochdale climbed into fifth place in League One.
The Dale boss admitted he had thought long and hard about who to include on the substitutes’ bench ahead of their game against struggling Scunthorpe, eventually opting for Joe Bunney over Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
And the rookie striker came on in the second half to fire his side ahead and though the visitors hit back to level through Murray Wallace’s header, Peter Vincenti met a ball at the back post five minutes from time to win it. “I probably spent 24 hours, plus a few minutes, deciding my substitutes line-up,” admitted Hill. “Nathaniel Mendez-Laing has been doing really well and Joe has had a little bit of compassionate leave.
“I still couldn’t make my mind up with respect to who was going to be really impor-
tant for us in terms of coming on to maybe secure a game or win it.
“But I think we’ve got a very good squad – and we proved it. It looked like we were heading for a 1-0 defeat at half-time but we got the breakthrough goal and then we looked settled.
“We gave a goal away from a corner, but we got away with it by getting the second goal; something which we haven’t done in the last two weeks.”
Neither side had mustered much in the way of efforts on goal before Bunney broke the deadlock in the 67th minute.
Paddy Madden had hit the bar for Scunthorpe not long after half-time and the Iron had looked the likelier scorers having stifled their hosts for long periods.
Bunney’s strike, hit from the edge of the box, kickstarted what proved to be an action-packed final 20 minutes.
Nine minutes after Dale had gone ahead, defender Wallace rose highest in the penalty area to nod in Gary McSheffrey’s corner to make it 1-1.
A draw would probably have been about fair, but five minutes from the end Vincenti led a posse of players charging in at the far post to apply a simple finish to full-back Tom Kennedy’s inviting cross.
“There wasn’t a great deal between the two sides but we conceded two really poor goals,” groaned visiting boss Mark Robins. “The first may have gone through a ruck of bodies, but we should be doing better than that. We’ve got to stand up and be counted. With the second we should have stopped the cross.
“It was disappointing; because I thought we’d done all right and defended pretty well against a side that moves the ball pretty well.”
STAR MAN PETER VINCEN