Rochdale are forced to settle for a replay
Rochdale were forced to settle for an FA Cup replay after their first round match against Morecambe at the Globe Arena on Saturday finished in a score draw.
Shrimps goalkeeper Barry Roche was the difference between the two sides and pulled off several fantastic saves to keep his side in the competition.
Dale started slowly allowing the home side to take the lead on 12 minutes through Andrew Flemming but soon took control of the game and posed a threat in the final third.
Goalkeeper Roche pulled off a handful of top drawer saves, while the cross bar also denied Dale on the day. The breakthrough finally came on 71 minutes when Jason Kennedy fired home on the re-bound from an initial George Donnelly strike and despite continued efforts to find the winner, the match finished 1-1.
There was just one change to the Dale starting eleven for the FA Cup tie as Dele Adebola started ahead of Ashley Grimes who dropped to the bench.
Morecambe showed their attacking prowess from the first whistle and inside the opening two minutes posed problems for the Dale defence. Will Haining took the ball past Phil Edwards before sending the ball into a packed box for Lewis Alessandra who failed to convert after the Dale defence stood strong.
Up the other end and Kennedy sent Dale’s first shot goalwards on three minutes after picking the ball up in midfield but his effort from 25 yards went high above the bar.
Morecambe began to take control of the game soon after and applied pressure on the Rochdale goal.
Alessandra, who was proving to be a handful, bombed up the left hand flank before cutting inside, only a well-timed tackle from Rhys Bennett stopped the frontman getting a shot away.
And after a spell of pressure Morecambe’s goal finally came on 12 minutes when Andrew Flemming capitalised on a Ryan Edwards mistake. He picked up a stray pass from the defender and fired past goalkeeper Josh Lillis from 20 yards into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Rochdale then had shouts for a penalty turned down on 17 minutes after it appeared that Kevin McIntyre had been felled in the box but the referee waved played on.
It was end to end football and four minutes later a fantastic save from Lillis stopped the Shrimps taking a two goal lead. A ball over the top of the Rochdale defence allowed Jack Redshaw in one on one with the ‘keeper but Lillis pulled off what was an important save to keep the former Dale frontman out.
Despite a quiet start for Dale, it was John Coleman’s men who went on to dominate and were denied only by several fine saves from Morecambe ‘keeper Roche.
On 23 minutes Grant was taken down on the edge of the eighteen yard box and stepped up to take the resulting free kick. He curled the ball round the defence but was kept out by the goalkeeper who parried it past the post for a corner. Roche again pulled off a fantastic save from the resulting corner kick, this time the effort from Kennedy was 20 yards out was palmed up over the bar.
It was one way traffic as the match continued as Dale controlled the game. Shortly after the half hour mark Grant was denied again, this time by the woodwork, after sending another free kick in on goal after being felled. His curling effort smashed off the cross bar and out of play.
Two minutes later and a busy Roche was on hand once again to deny Dale as they searched for an equaliser. Ryan Edwards’ looping header was sent round the upright by the impressive keeper who was without doubt the home side’s Man of the Match.
And as the clock ticked towards the interval Rochdale continued to pound the Morecambe goal as they looked for a break through. Roche however was on hand to see off a low curling effort from Grant as he dived low to his left to keep the frontman out.
Rochdale started the second half with the same fire in their belly as they had finished the first but despite enjoying plenty of possession inside the Shrimps’ half, Rochdale were unable to find a way through.
On 50 minutes, Adebola had the first real opportunity of the half when he headed over the bar after getting on the end of a fantastic cross from McIntyre.
Four minutes later and it was the home side who could have added a second of the afternoon after the broke forward a lengthy spell of dominance from Coleman’s side following a loose ball in midfield. Jack Redshaw, who bagged a double in the league encounter between the two sides at Spotland last month, took advantage of the stray pass and powered through on goal before attempting to slot it past Lillis and into the back of the net. Much to Rochdale’s relief the shot went narrowly wide of the upright.
Up the other end, and Adebola saw off his marker with a fine flick into the path of Donnelly who sent it back to the towering striker in a neat one two. The veteran frontman was however closed down before he could send the ball goalward.
After the hour mark, Skipper Peter Cavanagh should have put Dale on level terms after getting on the end of an Adebola cross, but he blasted over from less than six yards out.
And with Dale continuing to cause problems, the deserved equaliser finally came on 71 minutes through Kennedy who hit home on the re-bound after a Donnelly’s initial shot was palmed away by Roche and into the path of Kennedy who fired the ball into the back of the net from four yards out.
After the goal, Morecambe came to life as they looked to regain the lead making for an evenly contested remaining twenty minutes as the two sides went in search of the winning goal.
With seven minutes of the match remaining it was the Shrimps who came closest to snatching a victory but Nick Fenton could only look on as Lillis pulled off a fine reaction save to tip his header over the bar.
It finished Morecambe 1, Rochdale 1.