Rochdale progressed to the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint trophy on Tuesday night with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Fleetwood Town.
The match went to spot kicks after the Cod Army came from two goals behind to see the match tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes.
Bobby Grant and Ray Putterill had given Dale a two goal cushion, but goals from substitute Jamie McGuire ensured the encounter went to penalties.
Successful spot kicks from Putterill, Phil Edwards, Kevin McIntyre and Grant sent Dale into the second round.
Manager John Coleman made five changes to the starting eleven for the match at Spotland and handed starts to Ben Smith, Rhys Bennett, Ray Putterill, Ian Craney, and Bobby Grant. Josh Lillis, Ryan Edwards, Jason Kennedy, Ashley Grimes and Dele Adebola were the five who made way.
In a lively first half, it was Fleetwood Town who had the first opportunity of the game with five minutes on the clock after David Ball applied pressure on ‘keeper Ben Smith following a dangers low cross across the face of goal by Andrew Mangan. He should have done better from less than six yards out but Smith was there to collect when he did get the shot away.
It was end to end football and just a minute later, Fleetwood’s Scott Davies pulled off a fantastic block after bravely dashing off his line to stop George Donnelly unleashing a shot goalwards from inside the 18 yard box.
On 13 minutes, Ball again was in the thick of the action as he curled an effort towards the far post following a swift counter attack. Smith was forced stretch the length of his goal to keep the former Dale loanee out.
Two minutes later and the Cod Army again tested the Rochdale goal. This time it was Steven Gillespie who drove an effort low at speed past the upright.
While Fleetwood enjoyed the best of the early opportunities, Rochdale did had a ten minute spell where they pressured the visitors goal, during which Bobby Grant opened the scoring.
On 18 miniutes Andrew Tutte could only drag his final shot wide of the post after sending an effort goalward following some fantastic one touch passing from back to front.
Dale continued to apply the pressure with the passing game, and after a spell on top, took the lead on 24 minutes from the penalty spot after Davies was adjudged to have brought down Ray Putterill inside the area.
Grant hit home the resulting spot kick to opening the scoring.
Going a goal behind seemed to add an urgency to Fleetwood Town’s play and they finished the half on top as they looked to find the equaliser.
Just a minute after Grant opened his account for the season, Smith was forced to dive low at his near post to keep out a deflected shot from Mangan.
On 27 miniutes Smith was again called into action as he palmed away Shaun Beeley’s low drive. It was yet another a fantastic save from the ‘keeper who had a busy first half.
Gillespie then looked on as his header was deflected narrowly wide of the target, while Alex Marrow headed over the bar from the resulting corner kick.
After the interval Rochdale took control of the game and looked comfortable for a spell as they stepped up the search for a second.
Shortly after the break Donnelly sent a glancing header over the bar from a Brian Barry-Murphy corner.
Dale continued to press, and it was on 58 minutes that the hard work paid off as Putterill doubled the lead with a stunning strike.
He cut inside before unleasing a curling effort which left an outstretched Davies with no chance as it nestled itself into the corner of the net.
A minute later, Tutte’s powerful strike from eight yards out was pushed away by the two hands of Davies, before he collected an effort from Grant who had toe poked the ball towards goal on the hour mark.
Rochdale were in charge of the match, but Fleetwood certainly weren’t ready to accept defeat and they pulled a goal back on 64 minutes against the run of play from a bullet header from second half substitute Jamie McGuite who had latched onto the end of corner kick from Jamie Mulligan.
Up the other end, Davies pulled off yet another fantastic save, this time to keep out Rhys Bennet who had stabbed the ball towards goal from around 10 yards out. The goalkeeper had gone the wrong way but somehow managed to get a hand to it send it over the bar in what was great reaction save.
But it was the Cod Army who continued to apply pressure on the Dale goal and on 72 minutes McGuire levelled scoring, the goal coming again from a Miligan set piece. Milligan’s free-kick, which was sent into a busy box, was met by McGuire who volleyed the ball into the net at the back post.
Moments later and Milligan again stepped up to take a free kick in a dangerous position, this time he sent the ball over the wall and just inches wide of the upright.
On 80 minutes, McGuire who had proven to be a fantastic substitute, hit an effort off the inside of the bar.
A minute afterwards and Putterill sent in a menacing low cross across the face of goal. Goalkeeper Davies spilled the ball, but Donnelly couldn’t get there to convert and the ball was whipped away.
And if the final moments of the match, Ashley Eastham’s last ditch tackle kept out Putterill who was through on goal after getting on the end of a fine through ball from Donnelly.
With the match tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes, the game at Spotland went straight to penalty kicks.
Successful spot kicks from Putterill, Phil Edwards, McIntyre and Grant sent Dale into the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trohpy with a 4-2 win on penalties.