Dale get blitzed

Middleton Guardian - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - RICHARD PARTINGTON

SKY BET LEAGUE ONE ROCHDALE ....................... 4 BRAD­FORD CITY ............ 0

ROCHDALE were on the re­ceiv­ing end of a spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mance from Brad­ford City on Saturday as 2018 closed with a thump­ing de­feat at the Crown Oil Arena.

The Ban­tams have had a dire first half of the cam­paign but had been show­ing signs of re­cov­ery through­out De­cem­ber. How­ever, they’d never hit these kind of heights be­fore.

In Jack Payne they had the undis­puted man of the match, and he was com­ple­mented by fine dis­plays across the park from his team-mates. This was Brad­ford’s A-plus game, while Dale strug­gled to get theirs go­ing at all.

Keith Hill made just one change to the start­ing line-up with Matty Gil­lam re­placed by Brad­den In­man in the front three, In­man hav­ing made a sig­nif­i­cant sec­ond half im­pact on the Box­ing Day win against Black­pool.

With away sup­port­ers packing out the Will­butts Lane stand there was a buzz about the sta­dium matched on the field by the play­ers in a lively open­ing.

Dan Ad­shead, Ian Hen­der­son and Joe Raf­ferty worked a promis­ing open­ing down the right which, while it came to noth­ing, sug­gested Dale were set fair to con­tinue their fine form.

How­ever, it was Brad­ford who quickly emerged as the dom­i­nant team in the first pe­riod with the home side strug­gling to cope with the pace and move­ment of Payne, David Ball and Eoin Doyle in par­tic­u­lar.

It took an MJ Wil­liams in­ter­cep­tion to halt Payne’s run into the area and min­utes later a pa­tiently worked move from the Ban­tams ended with Nathaniel KnightPer­ci­val squar­ing for Payne 10 yards from goal, Bren­dan Moore beat­ing his shot away.

Ryan De­laney cut out Doyle’s at­tempt to play the ball across the face of goal from the edge of the six-yard box as the visi­tors main­tained a bright start and when Brad­ford took the lead in the 23rd minute it was no more than they de­served.

Payne’s corner to­wards the near post picked out the run of Doyle and his an­gled header looked des­tined for the bot­tom corner of the net un­til Moore man­aged to keep it out. How­ever, Knight-Percival was first to the loose ball, tap­ping home from close range.

Doyle went close soon af­ter, flash­ing a header to­wards the tar­get which only just cleared the cross­bar.

Such was the visi­tors’ su­pe­ri­or­ity in the first half hour of the game that Hill made a tac­ti­cal change on 34 min­utes, Ad­shead mak­ing way for Kgosi Ntlhe, who went to leftback with Matt Done oper­at­ing on the right of the front three.

The trou­ble­some Payne struck a rasp­ing drive from the edge of the area which Moore suc­cess­fully par­ried to safety and Dale were re­lieved to be head­ing in at the break just one goal be­hind.

Their hopes of mount­ing a sec­ond half im­prove­ment hit the buf­fers quickly.

Ol­lie Rath­bone’s trip on Ball at the start of the sec­ond half pre­sented Brad­ford with a free-kick on the edge of the box, Payne’s ef­fort headed over the bar by the Dale wall.

But the home side failed to clear their lines suf­fi­ciently when the corner came in and when Payne col­lected pos­ses­sion on the right he weaved his way past Ntlhe and scuffed a cen­tre to­wards the edge of the six-yard box, de­fender An­thony O’Con­nor sweep­ing the ball beyond Moore with a clev­erly im­pro­vised fin­ish.

Calvin An­drew came on to add some phys­i­cal pres­ence to the front­line and Dale ini­tially started to ask a few more ques­tions

Ge­orge Wood

Rochdale came up against an in­spired per­for­mance from Jack Payne in Saturday’s 4-0 de­feat at the Crown Oil Arena

Sean Hans­ford

Rochdale man­ager Keith Hill

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