Young Dale rise
DALE made it two wins from two in the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-0 win at Fleetwood Town.
Jordan Williams opened the scoring with his first goal for the club in the first-half, before Andy Cannon doubled the lead shortly after the break.
The win means Dale are now through to the knockout stages of the competition, with a top two spot guaranteed in Northern Group B.
Keith Hill made nine changes to the side that started at Blackpool in Sky Bet League One on Saturday, with Harrison McGahey and Sam Hart the two survivors.
Dale’s youngest ever debutant, 16-year-old Luke Matheson, made his first professional start after impressing in the opening Checkatrade Trophy game against Bury, when he was awarded Man of the Match.
Dale began the game brightly and grabbed a deserved opener in the 16th minute through Williams.
He won a header on the touchline into the feet of Matty Done, who played a return through ball for Williams to run on to.
He drove into the area and fired beyond Fleetwood goalkeeper Billy Crellin, who couldn’t prevent the effort from finding the back of the net.
Williams was causing the home defence problems and had an opportunity to double the lead four minutes later after being found by Stephen Dooley, but he flashed an effort beyond the far post from a tight angle.
The Dale goalscorer again found himself in a good position to grab a second, when Matheson’s ball across to Dooley deflected into his path, but his sweeping effort curled over.
Brendan Moore made a strong save from a Wes Burns effort from distance, but the home side’s best chance came in added time of the firsthalf.
Moore’s pass was intercepted by Chris Long, who took a touch before firing goalwards, but Moore got back to make a fine save over the crossbar.
Dale were forced into a change just before the interval when Dan Adshead was forced off through an injury picked up from Kyle Dempsey’s late challenge minutes earlier. Joe Rafferty replaced him.
Dale’s lead was doubled inside two minutes of the restart. Great pressure on the Fleetwood defence who were playing the ball in their own area saw Cannon win the ball back and he took the ball forward before firing home powerfully.
Zach Clough replaced Hart with Dale’s second change and he was almost found by Williams when he was released down the left, but he was caught in two minds between shooting and looking for Clough, with the effort in between the both.
Fleetwood substitute and former Dale man Ashley Eastham sent a header back across goal at the back post when it looked easier to divert home, in a rare chance for the hosts.
Clough sent two freekicks just wide of the near post from promising positions, with goalkeeper
‘The challenge was there for the players and they took it on with a bit of bravery’
Crellin rooted to the spot on both occasions.
Dale stopper Moore held on to a whipped freekick late on as Dale preserved their clean sheet, and held on for another three points in the Check-
Andy Cannon was on the scoresheet for Dale in the midweek game against Fleetwood