Rochdale started their 2020/21 season with a victory over Championship side Huddersfield Town in Round One of the Carabao Cup.
Captain Eoghan O’Connell netted the goal at The John’s Smith Stadium to ensure Dale progressed in the competition.
Gavin Bazunu and Alex Newby made their debuts in the win, as did Ethan Brierley.
The home side had the first shot on target, nine minutes into the match, when Gavin Bazunu held a Josh Koroma effort.
Immediately after, Rochdale broke away up the left through Jimmy Keohane. He played in Matty Done who sent a low cross into the area but there was no-one there to get on the end of it.
With a quarter of an hour played, Alex Newby, who was making his Dale debut, chased onto a ball down the right, beat his man before clipping the ball into the area. Stephen Dooley and Ollie Rathbone were there waiting but it was just inches in front of them.
A minute later, Bazunu pulled off a fine double save at his near post. He firstly kept out Koroma’s low drill, before keeping out a follow up, which in the end was deemed to have gone out of play anyway.
Rochdale had the ball in the back of the net through Done on 21 minutes only to see it ruled out for offside by the referee after the linesman’s flag initially didn’t go up. Done had turned home the rebound from Newby’s blocked shot.
Harry Toffolo perhaps should have broken the deadlock a couple of minutes later, but he could only steer his bullet header wide from a corner.
Jimmy Ryan, meanwhile, struck wide of the post from a Morley corner soon after, as Dale continued to the pressure on.
The hosts finished the half strongly, but they couldn’t get past a resolute Dale defence, as Brian Barry-Murphy’s side withstood their advances through several crucial blocks.
HT | HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0-0 ROCHDALE
Six minutes after the re-start, Rochdale took the lead through Captain O’Connell.
Dale had enjoyed plenty of the early possession, when Ryan McLaughlin was brought down for a free-kick out on the right. Done’s delivery from the set-piece was met at the back-post by O’Connell, who powered a header beyond Ben Hamer, netting his first goal for the Club.
The Terriers went in search of an equaliser, but in a similar story to the first half, Brian Barry-Murphy’s side continued to stand firm and clear cut opportunities were limited for the home side.
In Dale’s first change of the game, Kwadwo Baah replaced Rathbone in the 73 minute, while a second followed 11 minutes later, when Done was replaced by Fabio Tavares.
Juninho Bacuna fired well over from distance, before firing a shot straight into the hands of Bazunu, which was well-held.
As the game entered five minutes of stoppage time, the Dale goalkeeper punched a powerful shot from substitute Isaac Mbenza behind. From the result corning, the ball was dangerously flicked on and O’Connell was there to head it off the line!
In a final Dale change, Rochdale born and bred Ethan Brierley made his first team debut, replacing Ryan.
FT | HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0-1 ROCHDALE