Late strike by Davies breaks the Dale duck
ROCHDALE have made a disastrous start to their League One campaign but Keith Hill was certain they would turn it around before Steve Davies’ late winner against Fleetwood earned their first win.
Bobby Grant’s penalty cancelled out Matthew Lund’s opener in the first half but Davies’ intervention proved decisive for Rochdale as he headed home four minutes from time.
And after moving off the foot of the table, Hill explained that his team had never lost confidence despite their early struggles.
He said: “We were very comfortable, we set off superbly well and there was a lot of confidence on that pitch in this game.
“We worked on it all week in training and I was confident that we were going to win.
“They are a really good side and have quality players but I think we managed their attack well and we showed good attacking intent and I'm happy with the performance.”
The first real chance of the game fell to the hosts, a long punt upfield by Josh Lillis seized upon by Ian Henderson but his chip over Cod Army keeper Chris Neal effort was inches wide. Rochdale kept the pressure on and they were rewarded in the tenth minute.
A cross from the lefthand side courtesy of the right boot of Donal McDermott was powerfully headed home by the towering Lund.
The home side continued to dominate proceedings until the 22nd minute when a lovely thorough ball from David Ball set Chris Long on his way into the penalty area, a clumsy challenge from Harrison McGahey brought down the pacy winger and the referee had no option but to award a penalty.
Up stepped Bobby Grant to dispatch the spot kick despite the best effort of Lillis.
It took until 15 minutes from time for the next real chance, as a looping header by Dale’s Joe Bunney was met on the volley by Henderson but he blasted over.
But their pressure eventually paid off when a cross from the left side from Bunney was headed home by Davies, much to Uwe Rosler’s frustration.
Rosler said: “I saw a side in the first half that I haven’t seen before. The contrast between the first seven games and this one was massive in the first half, the second half was much better but they deserved to win.
“I was particularly upset about a few things and we will see when we watch the game back.
“We are going to sit down and take the emotion out of the game when we analyse it.”