Leyton Orient 2 - 1 Rochdale
Reporter: Martin Culshaw
Date online: 07 May 2012
It was a familiar story for Rochdale as a disappointing season came to an end with defeat at Leyton Orient. Dale were 2-0 down before half time but youngster Reece Gray netted a late consolation for Coleman’s men.
It was always going to be a nothing game with Dale already relegated and Orient safe from the drop, but victory for Coleman’s men could have seen them climb off the bottom and would have been the new Dale managers first away win since taking charge.
Simon Hackney was given a start in a bid to earn a contract for next season after missing all but 2 games this campaign through injury. Youngster Reece Gray made the starting 11 after impressing whilst out on loan at Hyde United. Dean Holden replaced Kevin Long who has returned to Burnley after his loan spell ended.
The home side set about the task of ending a winless run of 7 games that had seen them slip perilously close to the relegation trap door.
Kevin Amankwaah’s foul on the edge of the area allowed Cox to whip the ball in but Jimmy Smith’s back post header went into the side netting.
The Os thought they had taken the lead on 20 minutes when a scramble in the Dale box saw the ball appear to cross the line but referee Atwell, who infamously gave the phantom goal between Reading & Watford in 2008, waved play on.
All the attacking play was coming from the home side and they deservedly took the lead on 32 minutes. Dean Cox’s volley struck Stephen Darby which spun the ball into the ground and looping over a stranded Matt Edwards.
Russell Slade’s side doubled their lead just before half time. Youth player Moses Odubajo sent a thunderous shot from 18 yards off the underside of the cross bar given Edwards no chance.
Rochdale came out looking more up for the fight after the re-start.
Andrew Tutte brought a fine save from Jones whilst substitute Nicky Adams’ run and shot went across the face of goal.
Dean Leacock’s looping header almost caught out Edwards but the young goalkeeper tipped over.
Dale’s consolation came with 15 minutes remaining. Reece Gray picked up outside the area before beating 3 Os defenders and calmly slotting the ball past Jamie Jones.
The remainder of the game was played out although a few meaty challenges between Gray, Chorley & Campbell Ryce added a bit of spice, the game ended 2-1.
With the players heading off for sunnier climates, John Coleman and Jimmy Bell start their re-building job for next season. 8 players are out of contract whilst 4 players have returned to their parent clubs after loans spells at Spotland. Nicky Adams has already been placed on the transfer list with another 5 expected to join him through the Spotland Exit doors.
It's going to be a summer of change but it’s one that needs to happen if Dale are going to bounce back from relegation.
Dale assistant boss Jimmy Bell spoke after the game: “Things haven’t worked out as we would have wanted. We had a plan when we first come to the club so it’s good to get this game out of the way and start a fresh next season. If results would have gone as we would have liked, we would have been coming here today with a chance of staying up but the season has just fizzled out which has been disappointing.
"Reece Gray will be a star, we have high hopes for him. He works hard and he trains well and has a terrific attitude.
"All the players have been told if they are going to be retained or offered new contracts, the club will release that list in due course.
"Work on next season started a couple of weeks ago. We have targets and we will bring in players that we want at the club who will approach the game in our way.
"I’m going to have to go away and clear the mind and come back fresh”
Att: 4110 (147 from Rochdale)
Rochdale: Edwards, Widdowson, Holden, Amankwaah, Darby, Jones, Tutte, Kennedy, Hackney (Adams 55), Gray, Akpa-Akpro
Subs (not used): Lucas, Symes, Thompson, Byrne
Leyton Orient: Jones, Youssef, Chorley, Cox, Lisbie (Obafemi 82), McSweeney, Spring, Smith, Odubajo (Forbes 85), Leacock, Campbell-Ryce (Lobjoit 69)
Subs (not used): Porter, Laird
Referee: Mr S Atwell
Assistant Referees: Mr R Atkin and Mr R Kendall
Fourth Official: Mr G Russell
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