Cup run ends in
EMIRATES FA CUP SECOND ROUND ROCHDALE ....................... 0 PORTSMOUTH ................. 1
HAVING enjoyed the magic of the FA Cup in abundance last season, Rochdale experienced the competition’s capacity for heartbreak on Sunday when they were beaten in the most painful of circumstances.
Andre Green’s 90th minute effort, from a cleverly-worked free-kick, took a huge deflection off Ryan Delaney and completely wrong-footed Josh Lillis, looping into the net.
It was harsh on Dale, who had been by far the stronger team in the second half and had looked the side more likely to break the deadlock.
There were six changes to the team which had started the midweek defeat at Oxford with Callum Camps, Sam Hart, Aaron Wilbraham and Conor Randall dropping out of the matchday squad while Ollie Rathbone and Jim McNulty took places on the bench.
Joe Rafferty, Matt Done, Calvin Andrew, MJ Williams, Stephen Dooley and Jordan Williams were all restored to the starting XI .
In making his 278th start, Lillis drew level with Neil Edwards as the goalkeeper with most appearances for the club.
Neither side created an opportunity of note in an evenly contested opening ten minutes, and it was Dale who carved out the afternoon’s first chance when Jordan Williams collected Andrew’s flick on and wrong-footed his marker on the edge of the area, the former Barrow man pulling his shot wide of Craig MacGillivray’s post.
Ben Thompson skipped past Done on the right of the penalty area and blasted over the crossbar while a driving run from Gareth Evans also ended with the ball flying into the Sandy Lane supporters.
Evans later sent a volleyed attempt closer to the target but again, too high to trouble Lillis while Ronan Curtis was the first to test Lillis when he chested the ball down and struck a low effort on target, the Dale keeper comfortably collecting.
Andrew combined to good effect with Jordan Williams once again in the 42nd minute for Dale’s best effort of the game up to that point. The big frontman’s flick on teed up Williams for a shot across MacGillivray from the right-hand side of the area, his shot beating the goalkeeper but running narrowly wide of the far post.
Pompey went even closer with their next attack, Curtis’ superb run forward ending with a thumping 20-yard effort which slammed into the crossbar.
Dale started the second half strongly with the visitors pegged back inside their own half for a spell, MJ Williams – having fired a shot wildly over the top minutes earlier – miscuing the ball when he attempted to volley Andy Cannon’s corner goalward while the Pompey wall did its job in fending off a free-kick from Done.
Andrew got in behind the Portsmouth defence but saw his angled finish saved by MacGillivray, Adshead pouncing on the rebound but seeing his shot blocked by the head of Jack Whatmough.
And Dale were a whisker away from breaking the deadlock in the 69th minute when Done and Jordan Williams combined down the left flank, Done carrying the ball into the area before firing towards the roof of MacGillivray’s net only to see his effort slam against the crossbar.
Oliver Hawkins had a header saved and What- mough nodded one wide at the other end but with Dale dominating in terms of chances created, Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett brought on striker Brett Pitman, so often a bogeyman for Hill’s side.
Josh Lillis played his 278th game for Rochdale, moving him level with Neil Edwards as the goalkeeper with most appearances
Matt Done had Dale’s best effort when he struck the crossbar during a second half largely dominated by the home side