Dale lighting up
ROCHDALE kickstarted a run of four successive home games with a narrow victory against Charlton.
Ian Henderson’s early strike, his 99th goal for the club in all competitions, proved the difference between the teams and while the visitors might argue they had a penalty saved, a second half strike ruled out and a number of efforts brilliantly saved by Brandon Moore or cleared by the resilient Dale defence, in truth the home side were deserving of the points.
Dale regularly created opportunities of their own and could easily have run out more comfortable winners – Charlton boss Lee Bowyer certainly had no complaints, branding his side’s efforts ‘not good enough.’
Keith Hill’s men responded to his call for improvement following the midweek loss at Wycombe.
The Dale boss made three changes to the team which had started the 3-0 defeat at Adams Park four days earlier. Brad Inman, Sam Hart and Oliver Rathbone returned in place of Matt Done, MJ Williams and Kgosi Ntlhe, who missed out on the matchday squad altogether.
Joe Rafferty was the first to test the effects of the bright autumnal sunlight shining in Jed Steer’s eyes as he fired on target from 25 yards, the goalkeeper diving to his left to smother the ball as Jordan Williams raced in for any scraps.
The decisive goal arrived in the fourth minute. Rafferty was forced wide on the right and fed the ball up the line to Stephen Dooley. The tricky midfielder feigned a cross but worked his way into the penalty area before slipping a square pass towards Henderson, the Dale skipper slamming home a low drive from 10 yards.
Noses bloodied, the Addicks came into the game with Lyle Taylor capitalising on a wayward pass, collecting the ball in the centre circle and advancing towards goals with only Hart between him and the target, the striker’s shot from 18 yards skimming the top of Moore’s crossbar.
A driving run forwards from Callum Camps ended with an intelligent pass to pick out Inman, in space on the left of the Charlton penalty area. He took a touch inside before pulling a shot wide of the near post.
The Addicks were handed a lifeline in the 18th minute when Moore came off his line to punch clear a delivery from the right – he did so, but referee Andy Haines deemed his challenge on Darren Pratley an illegal one and pointed to the penalty spot.
The goalkeeper quickly made amends, diving to his right to palm clear Taylor’s spot kick and preserve Dale’s slender lead.
Dale closed out the half in search of a second goal and Jordan Williams was denied when his turn and shot at point blank range was closed down by Steer while Inman saw a firm drive cleared off the line by Chris Solly following great approach play from Rafferty and Williams.
After the break, Charlton captain Jason Pearce headed a free-kick wastefully
‘The lads coped well with the pressure of having only won once before at home’
wide when he rose unchallenged in the Dale penalty area.
Josh Cullen’s 25-yard drive looked destined for the roof of the net until Moore got across his goalline and flew to his right,
●●Ian Henderson netted his tenth goal of the season against Charlton