Chesterfield 2 -1 Rochdale
Date published: 22 April 2012
Rochdale's relegation back to League 2 was confirmed with defeat at Chesterfield, a result that gives the Spireites a fighting chance of staying up. Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro fired Dale into the lead on 73 minutes but a quick fire double from the homes side confined Coleman's men to the drop.
There were 5 changes to the starting 11 by the Dale boss. Kevin Long and Stephen Darby returned from injury whilst Joe Widdowson returned at left back. Joe Thompson got the nod in midfield with Gary Jones returning after being rested for last weekend’s game.
Coleman's men had the better of the chances in the opening part of the game. Gary Jones should have worked former Dale goalkeeper Tommy Lee when put through but curled wide.
Akpa-Akpro's diving header from McConville’s shot went wide and Kennedy saw a stinging drive blocked well.
Kennedy's jinking run into the area beat 3 players but he poked his shot wide.
Whoever lost this game would be confirmed as relegated and the Spireites came out for the second half fired up. Jordan Bowery headed into the side netting from an acute angle.
Although the home side kept the ball better after the break, it was Dale who looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
Gary Jones' deflected effort came back off the foot of the post whilst Tommy Lee saved well at the feet of Thompson from .the rebound.
Akpa-Akpro put Coleman's men into a deserved lead with 17 minutes left to play. The Frenchman’s run caused the home defence to back off before he curled beyond Lee for 1-0.
Dale substitute Nicky Adams should have doubled his sides lead but a terrific save by Lee low down to his right denied him and it was to prove a turning point in the game as moment’s later Chesterfield were level. Sub Scott Boden reacted quickest to a loose ball in the 6 yard box to fire the equaliser.
Scores coming in elsewhere meant a Dale win would see them survive for another week but then they found themselves behind Moussa's thunderous drive was tipped onto the crossbar with Danny Whitaker on hand to turn home the rebound.
In the end, it didn't matter what happened elsewhere as Rochdale failed in their quest to win when it really mattered.
So it’s back to League 2 for the Spotland outfit next season when they hope John Coleman is the man to launch a serious promotion challenge.
Rochdale: Edwards, Widdowson, Long, Amankwaah, Darby, Jones , Tutte, Kennedy, McConville (Adams 61), Thompson (Grimes 88), Akpa-Akpro
Subs (not used): Lucas, Minihan, Holden
Chesterfield: Lee, Thompson, Talbot, Ford (Robertson 33), Ridehalgh, Randall (Boden 67), Moussa, Juan, Mendy, Bowery, Westcarr (Whitaker 59)
Subs (not used): Allott, Smith
Referee: Mr C Pawson
Ass Referee: Mr D Ford
Mr W Porter
4th Official: Mr P Hodskinson
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