Football: Rochdale 3 - 1 Rotherham

Date published: 08 March 2020

Rochdale put in their best display of the season on Saturday 7 March as they ran out deserved winners against promotion hopefuls Rotherham United at the Crown Oil Arena. Coming into the game on the back of three straight defeats, Brian Barry-Murphy’s men caused problems for the side from South Yorkshire from the first whistle.

Ian Henderson opened the scoring midway through the first half when he latched onto Aaron Morley’s ball before lifting over Daniel Iverson in the Rotherham goal. The Dale captain got his second with twenty minutes remaining of the game, coolly slotting in after running onto Matt Lund’s through ball. Lund got Dale’s third five minutes later, lobbing over Iverson from 35 yards out. The visitors got a consolation in stoppage time; Jamie Lindsay volleying in from 12 yards but it was to be Dale’s day.

The home side were boosted by the return to fitness of Eoghan O’Connell after the defender limped out of the last home game at half time against Coventry. Ollie Rathbone, who has missed the last three games, took his place on the bench as did Tyler Smith after the striker was involved in a car crash last week.

The visitors arrived with the best away record in the division and sat second in the league table at the start of play but any neutral inside the ground wouldn’t have known which side was near the top and which near the bottom as Rochdale took the game to their opponents.

Ian Henderson was causing problems for the slower Rotherham backline and when he broke through in the 24th minute, he had the time and space to pick out his strike partner Aaron Wilbraham; the veteran seeing his first time effort blocked by a defender.

Dale took the lead minutes later through their talisman Henderson. A lovely flighted ball over the top from Aaron Morley found Henderson just to the right of the Rotherham goal and with the keeper reluctant to come out, the Rochdale man lifted the ball over Iverson and despite the best efforts of Billy Jones on the line the ball went into the net.

Rotherham rarely threatened with the exception of a few crosses that were dealt with comfortably by Robert Sanchez although they did have the ball in the net nine minutes before the interval, but it was ruled out for offside. A mistake between O’Connell and Sanchez gave Wiles a simple header into the net only for striker Michael Smith, who was in an offside position, to touch the ball over the line.

That could have turned the game in favour of Dale’s loftier opponents but as it turned out, Barry-Murphy’s side pressed for a second after the break.

Henderson forced a fingertip save from Iverson when he headed Morley’s cross at goal whilst Callum Camps’ clipped cross to the back post found O’Connell unmarked; his header lacked any power to really trouble the visiting keeper.

There was a scare for Rochdale just short of the hour mark, full back Adam Thompson left unmarked seven yards out, but the former Bury defender headed over when he should have done better.

Henderson moved onto 126 goals for Rochdale when he netted his second of the game on 70 minutes. Matty Lund picked the pocket of Jamie Lindsay in the centre of the pitch and sent a perfectly weighted pass through to Henderson to race onto and slotted past Iverson which leaves the 35-year-old just three goals short of equalling Reg Jenkins’ all time goalscoring record of 129.

2-0 soon became 3-0 with Lund getting on the scoresheet for the first time since his return to Rochdale. Some good interplay between Lund and Camps saw Lund race away before spotting Iverson well outside of his goal and lifting over the stricken keeper.

Lund acrobatically cleared a Smith effort off the line at the other end as the visitors looked to impose themselves on the game and they did get a consolation in stoppage time. A cross from the left saw Lindsay get a foot to the ball before O’Connell to score but it was too little too late for Paul Warne’s promotion hopefuls.

Rochdale: Sanchez, Matheson, McShane, O’Connell, Keohane, Williams, Morley (Rathbone 83), Lund, Camps, Wilbraham, Henderson ©
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, McNulty, Dooley, Andrew, Smith, Done

Rortherham: Iverson, Thompson, Wood ©, Tilt (Koroma 60), Jones (Olosunde 78), Ogbene, Wiles, Crooks, Lindsay, Smith, Ladapo (Vassell 59)
Substitutes: (not used) Price, MacDonald, Adelakun, Clarke

Referee: Mr R Joyce
Assistants: Mr W Grunnill & Mr H Karaivanov
Fourth Official: Mr A Pashley

Attendance: 4,142 (1,672 from Rotherham)

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