Carlisle United 2-1 Rochdale
Reporter: Martin Culshaw
Date online: 07 March 2012
Rochdale sunk to the bottom of League One after defeat to Carlisle at Brunton Park. Jason Kennedy had equalised Jon-Paul McGovern’s 57th minute opener. Dale were only on terms for 2 minutes before Francois Zoko fired the hosts winner. It now means that Dale are 5 points adrift of safety with 11 games left.
Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro was recalled to the starting 11 with Joe Thompson injured as John Coleman tried to build on Saturday‘s great point against Sheffield Wednesday.
On a wet night in Cumbria, Dale started the game very brightly and should have taken the lead inside 2 minutes. Akpa-Akpro found the ball at his feet 6 yards out but the Frenchman fired over unchallenged. Moments later and Dale were on the attack again. This time Symes forced a smart save from Collin but Jones on the rebound was charged down and the ball cleared.
The home side started to get a hold in the game with Zoko firing over from 6 yards whilst a right wing corner was hit goal ward and with Lucas seemingly beaten, a Carlisle player blocked his own team mates shot which looked sure to open the scoring.
The comedy moment of the game came when Holden and Lucas got in a mix up and when the Dale defender tapped the ball back to the keeper the ball looked to be heading into the net until Lucas dived onto the ball. The referee had no option but to award an indirect free kick and to book the stopper.
The start of the second half started much like the first but Akpa-Akpro curled wide from 18 yards.
Dave Lucas’ handling had been exemplarily but he spilled a through ball at the feet of Zoko who crossed but Darby cleared the danger.
Carlisle fired a warning shot across the Dale bow when Millar headed home from 6 yards but a linesman’s flag cut short the celebrations.
Five minutes later and the home side took the lead. Zoko bundled his way into the area before pulling back for McGovern whose deflected effort wrong footed Lucas.
Dale looked shell-shocked and should have been 3 down inside 2 minutes. Firstly Millar fired just over from 18 yards whilst the striker hit the bar just seconds later when he should have done better.
The introduction of Andrew Tutte and Ashley Grimes midway through the second half seemed to spark new energy into Coleman’s side. Grimes went close when he latched onto a long punt up field but he lifted the ball over the bar. Tutte was next to try his luck when he picked up on the halfway line and ran at goal unchallenged but his ferocious shot whisked wide.
The Dale pressure was beginning to show and they got back on level terms with 16 minutes left. Tutte attacked down the right and sent a perfect cross for Jason Kennedy to glance beyond the dive of Collin and into the far corner.
With the score level, the game was there for the taking but it was the home side that got the killer blow. A bouncing ball into the Dale box wasn’t dealt with and Zoko fired low beyond Lucas.
With the clock ticking down, it was the home side that looked the more likely to add to the scoring. Tutte let the ball slip from his path which gave Zoko the chance to cross but Lucas was equal to McGovern’s shot.
It’s going to be a tough ask for Rochdale to stave of the threat of relegation with just 11 games remaining and the Dale boss said he will be bringing in some new faces to help try and avoid the drop back to League 2.
Coleman said: “To say I’m not happy after that performance is an understatement. I would like to apologise to the fans first and foremost. They have spent a lot of time and money travelling up here tonight and except for the first 15 or 20 minutes the rest wasn’t good enough.
“The second half was unacceptable. I take the blame for my part in that so I would like to apologies to the fans and the players should do too. We dominated the opening part of the game but we got sloppy and allowed Carlisle back into it. We got disheartened that we had missed a couple of chances and we started to give them chances when we were in no danger. We spoke to them at half time and in the second half they have done the complete opposite to what we have asked them to do. We didn’t hold the ball up, the midfield didn’t pick up the second ball and consequently the defence didn’t pick up when they should. We got the warning when they had the ball in the net but we didn’t heed it. They score, we get back into it and just as we are thinking we may go on and win it we gift them another easy goal. Its lazy bad marking, bad play. I take some of the blame for that as I’ve picked some of the same players for too long, perhaps its time for a change of personnel. I think its time to bring a couple of new players into the club, I’ve only brought 2 players in so far.”
Rochdale: Lucas, Darby, Holden, Long, Widdowson, Adams (Grimes 61), Barry-Murphy, Kennedy,
Jones (C ), Akpa-Akpro (Tutte 67), Symes
Subs (not used): Edwards, Jordan, Twaddle,
Carlisle: Collin, Simek, McGovern, Livesey (C ), Murphy, Madden (Noble 46), Taiwo, Zoko, Miller, Berrett, Chandler
Subs (not used): Welsh, Cook, Gillespie, Michalik
Referee: Mr C Webster
Ass Referee: Mr A Greenwood & Mr B Gordon
4th Official: Mr T Harrington
Have Your Say