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Rochdale 0-0 Northampton Town

18 August 2012

Dale held to a draw at Spotland on the opening day of the 2012-13 season

Rochdale were held to a goalless draw by Northampton Town at Spotland on Saturday on the opening day of the 2012/13 campaign.

Manager John Coleman opted for the same eleven which lined-up against Barnsley in the Capital One Cup a week ago.

The visitors were the first to create an opportunity in front of goal through Alex Nicholls. After dispossessing an out of position Ryan Edwards, he drove forward one on one with goalkeeper Josh Lillis, but was only stopped from getting a shot away by Phil Edwards who had tracked back to put in a last ditch challenge to get the ball away and out of play.

Lillis was then called into action on 12 minutes and had to move quick off his line to punch the ball clear following a curling cross-come-shot from Ben Harding which was spinning goalward.

It became evident during the opening period that if Dale were to punish the Cobblers they’d have to make the most of any opportunity in front of goal as their strong defence stood firm.

On 14 minutes, Dale almost did just that with a fantastic piece of passing play. Kennedy sent a long ball forward to Adebola who chested it down into the path of Grimes who thread a pacey pass through the middle of the defence for the onrunning Donnelly. Donnelly in the end was flagged offside, but it was a promising piece of play from the Dale strike force.

Skipper Peter Cavanagh then broke on the counter attack on 23 minutes in a swift move which left the Cobblers defence trailing. He sent a long pass out and onto the right hand flank for the onrunning George Donnelly who got to the ball just ahead of former Daley Joe Widdowson who had also made the run for the same ball. Donnelly managed to squeeze a pass across the face of goal but couldn’t pick out Adebola who was waiting in the middle.

Rochdale continued to apply the pressure and three minutes later Donnelly headed over the bar after getting onto the end of Kevin McIntryre cross into the box.

As the half approached the interval Dale had several opportunities in front of goal to break the deadlock.

On 34 minutes Rochdale again drove forward, this time with Andrew Tutte playing in Donnelly who had been lively on the wing throughout the afternoon. Donnelly sent yet another cross into the box, this time for the waiting Grimes who couldn’t quite get enough power onto a header.

Cavanagh then sent an effort goalward from distance, his effort was deflected over the bar at speed.

And on the stroke of half time, Northampton Town had goalkeeper Nicholls to thank for keeping the score level after he was forced to stretch the length of his goal to turn an effort, which looked like it was heading for the net, round the upright.

 After the interval, Dale continued to play the better of the football and continued to apply pressure in front of goal.

On 50 minutes, Adebola came agonisingly close with an effort from inside the six yard box with an outstretched foot. The ball however went inches wide of the upright. 

Adebola had an opportunity to put Dale ahead on the hour mark, but was kept out by the strong Northampton defence. With three men around the ball Adebola found it difficult to get to get a shot away, but after persisting he finally pulled the trigger only to be kept out by Kelvin Langmead who blocked the shot inside the six yards box.  

McIntyre, who had been fantastic for Dale all afternoon on the left flank, almost caught out keeper Nicholls with a deep cross into the box which was on its way into the top corner of the net. The ball was kept out only by the finger-tips of Nicholls.

Dale continued on top, and continued to press the visitors’ goal. Grimes looked on in disappointment on 72 minutes after sending the ball high over the Sandy Lane after a great piece of build-up play.

Manager Coleman opted to make his first substitution of the match on 76 minutes with George Donnelly making way for Ray Putterill. Putterill made an immediate impact as he flew down the wing at speed with his first touch of the ball. He crossed a dangerous ball into the 18-yard box for the awaiting Adebola who failed to make a connection. It then fell for Cavanagh who’s powerful drive was deflected wide of the target.

In a match which was dominated by Dale, Henoc Mukendi did test the Rochdale goal on 80 minutes but he headed wide after Pearson applied pressure at the post.

Deep in injury time Adebola had the last opportunity of the game after turning his marker inside the box following a brilliant run forward by Putterill. The effort was however saved by the goalkeeper.

It finished Rochdale 0, Northampton Town 0. 

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