The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By Jor­dan El­gott

KEITH Hill praised his Rochdale side’s pro­fes­sion­al­ism as they avoided a po­ten­tial ba­nana skin and booked their place in the FA Cup sec­ond round.

Brad In­man and Ian Hen­der­son both scored twice as the League One side saw off Brom­ley at Spot­land – and ex­tended their un­beaten run to five games.

The league may well be the pri­or­ity for Dale this sea­son they are 19th in League One – but Hill was pleased to see his side progress.

He said: “It was a very pro­fes­sional per­for­mance. We could have been two goals up be­fore we scored, prob­a­bly at half­time, the score­line should have been more.

“But we were very pro­fes­sional, I think the ma­jor­ity of it is be­cause of the re­spect we give our op­po­nents, we know what to ex­pect.

“Fair credit to the op­po­si­tion, they didn’t make it easy. We made it look eas­ier than it was be­cause we were will­ing to match the op­po­nents with courage, run­ning, com­mit­ment. We were very good with and with­out the ball and once we won that bat­tle we de­served to score the goals.”

Rochdale took the lead af­ter ten min­utes when In­man fin­ished well from a tight an­gle hav­ing been played in by Kgosi Ntlhe.

Ntlhe was a thorn in Brom­ley’s side all af­ter­noon and al­most got on the score­sheet him­self, but his header from Hen­der­son’s invit­ing cross bounced off the post.

Hen­der­son dou­bled Rochdale’s lead from the penalty spot af­ter Raf­ferty was brought down in­side the box af­ter 31 min­utes.

In­man then added a third nine min­utes af­ter half-time, slot­ting in hav­ing been sent clear by Josh Lil­lis’ goal-kick.

Brom­ley nearly gave their trav­el­ling fans some­thing to cheer about on 70 min­utes, but Lil­lis saved su­perbly from Frankie Suther­land’s goal­bound ef­fort.

The vis­i­tors then had striker Brett Wil­liams sent off for al­legedly stamp­ing on Dale mid­fielder Oliver Rath­bone.

A mirac­u­lous goal-line clear­ance de­nied Calvin An­drew from mak­ing it four, but the vis­i­tors were pow­er­less to stop Hen­der­son once more, who added some gloss to the score­line with five min­utes to go.

Hill was also pleased that his side played with a high tempo and cred­ited their fit­ness.

He added: “I be­lieve that we are one of the fittest sides in the league and that was re­flected.

“That is one of the rea­sons why we were able to play at such a high tempo and put the op­po­si­tion on the back foot.”

For Brom­ley, they can go back to fo­cus­ing on try­ing to win pro­mo­tion from the Na­tional League South and boss Neil Smith said his play­ers couldn’t have given any more.

He said: “I just wanted to get a goal for the sup­port­ers, I wanted to give them some­thing as a thank you for all their great sup­port but in the end it wasn’t to be.”


CRUNCH: Hen­der­son is tack­led EASY DOES IT: Ian Hen­der­son of Rochdale is con­grat­u­lated af­ter mak­ing it 4-0

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