Nat and Ash punch lights out of Shak­ers

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Robert Do­man

KEITH Hill’s Rochdale floored bat­tle-weary Bury on derby day as two sucker-punches from Nathaniel Men­dez-Laing shook the Shak­ers be­fore Ash­ley Eastham knocked them flat out.

Rochdale took con­trol from the off, leav­ing Hill to hail Dale’s “mag­nif­i­cent” per­for­mance as they cre­ated nu­mer­ous chances in a thor­oughly dom­i­nant dis­play.

But fi­nal-whis­tle boos from shell-shocked Bury sup­port­ers un­der­lined their dis­con­tent as Dave Fl­itcroft’s men came a dis­tant se­cond in their own bid to land a telling blow at the ex­pense of their ram­pant neigh­bours.

“We never let go,” Hill said. “We per­formed su­perbly in the first-half and man­aged the game tremen­dously – the points were never in doubt af­ter that.

“We got an­other goal and I don’t think any­one can com­plain about the re­sult. The front play­ers were mag­nif­i­cent at times but we have to main­tain that stan­dard of per­for­mance.

“You can’t show dis­re­spect by tak­ing your foot off the gas, you have to put your op­po­nent on the can­vas and keep them there.We’ve reached 51 points now and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing how far we can go in the re­main­ing games of the sea­son.”

Rochdale drew first blood when Ian Hen­der­son’s blocked shot fell to Men­dez-Laing who found the bot­tom cor­ner 11 min­utes in.

A shock­ing de­fen­sive mix-up cost Bury a se­cond goal with Men­dez-Laing prof­it­ing once more, as the Shak­ers crum­bled six min­utes later. Ryan Lowe’s ef­fort de­flected wide on 29 min­utes for Bury but Donal McDer­mott stung Ian Lawlor’s palms at the other end when he was al­lowed space on edge of the box.

Bury had Lawlor to thank again when Peter Clarke al­most turned the ball into his own net just be­fore the break. And Hen­der­son hit the post as Rochdale re­asserted con­trol af­ter half-time be­fore Eastham climbed high­est to meet Michael Rose’s 53rd­minute cor­ner and score his side’s third.

Josh Lil­lis de­nied Bury sub­sti­tute Shaun Clare be­fore Craig Jones called him into ac­tion once more on 73 min­utes but nei­ther player could in­spire a come­back.

Fl­itcroft said:“It was a dif­fi­cult week prepa­ra­tion-wise and it caught up with us.We have been strug­gling with in­juries and we put out a patch­work team. It didn’t look or feel right and when Ryan Lowe came off af­ter 15 min­utes we looked re­ally light­weight.

“We lacked the punch and power we nor­mally have and we re­ally need to re­group. We need to get the right play­ers in but we’ve not had any suc­cess.”

STAR MAN NATHAN MENDE IEL

Z-LAING Rochda

le

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