Rochdale 2-0 Barnet
Rochdale secured their first win of the 2012/13 season on Saturday afternoon with a comfortable 2-0 win over Barnet at Spotland.
Dale were looking to make amends after last weekend’s disappointing defeat at the hands of Torquay United, and after netting two first half goals, Dale sailed to a comfortable victory over the Bees.
There was just one change to the Dale starting line-up as skipper Peter Cavanagh missed out through injury, he was replaced in midfield by Brian Barry-Murphy.
In what was a relatively quiet first half, Rochdale were certainly the better of the two sides and took a deserved lead into the interval thanks to goals from Ashley Grimes and Dele Adebola.
Grimes who was lively throughout, opened the scoring on 16 minutes, while Adebola gave Dale a two goal cushion ten minutes before the break.
Rochdale were quick out the blocks and Grimes came close to putting Dale ahead with just two minutes on the clock when he latched onto the end of a ball across the face of goal by Andrew Tutte. Grimes had beaten goalkeeper Graham Stack but was denied by the inside of the upright.
Barnet then enjoyed a 10 minute spell of early pressure but all credit must go to the Dale defence who stood strong and kept the Bees at bay.
Rochdale then took control of the game and looked comfortable during the half. Grimes who had shown himself to be a danger in the opening stages fired a shot over the bar on 12 minutes.
The 25 year-old looked impressive during the half and attempted to get into the end of every ball into the box. His work-rate paid dividends and on 16 minutes Grimes fired Dale ahead following a set piece. The referee awarded a free-kick after Mark Byrne was adjudged to have fouled Jason Kennedy 30 yards out.
George Donnelly stepped up to the resulting kick and appeared to scuff the ball towards to goal, but despite the mishit it fell perfectly for Grimes who broke free inside the 18 yard box and slotted the ball neatly into the back of the net.
Shortly before the half hour mark Rochdale again caused problems for the Barnet defence and should have added a second. Adebola did well to break free from his marker to send a fine ball across the face of goal but unfortunately for the waiting Grimes it took a nick of the Bee’s Ollie Lee and spun away from the frontman.
Rochdale continued to hold possession and always looked likely to add another as the attacking partnership of Adebola, Donnelly and Grimes got themselves into dangerous positions in the final third.
And with Rochdale on top, a second goal did come 10 minutes before the interval. Matty Pearson used his pace to bomb up the right flank, and after cutting inside his two markers, fired a shot at goal which re-bounded off Stack. The ball fell for Adebola who converted to open his account for the 2012/13 season.
Dale were given a scare just minutes before the interval when Andy Yiadom rattled a cross-come-shot off the bar, but held out to take the two goal cushion into the break.
Rochdale continued as was after the break as John Coleman opted to remain with his starting eleven for the beginning of the second half.
And despite being on the back foot for most of the first 45 minutes, it was Barnet who applied the pressure following the re-start. But despite keeping Dale in their own half, the failed to create any clear cut chances due to the solid Rochdale defence.
Transfer deadline day signing Bobby Grant was then introduced onto the field of play on the hour mark in a double substitution alongside Ray Putterill - Grimes and Barry-Murphy made way for the pair.
The Bees had an opportunity shortly afterwards as Holmes tested Lillis from distance with a shot which flew wide of the post.
But it was Adebola who came close to adding a third for Dale on 69 minutes. He used great physical strength to see off three markers before cutting into the 18 yard box and firing a shot goalward. Stack however was there to smother the effort.
Tutte, who netted with a fine strike last weekend, then looked on as his right footed drive travelled at speed past the upright.
While Barnet had very few clear cut chances during the match, they did have two opportunities in quick succession. Lillis failed to control an effort from Jack Hyde and as a result spilled the ball leaving it for Mark Byrne who was waiting in the centre, he however could’t follow up on the re-bound.
And just a minute later, Byrne had the Bees best opportunity of the match as his flying header flashed wide of the far post.
With just a minute of the match remaining Hyde came close to pulling one back for Barnet but his shot across the face of goal went wide of the woodwork.
It finished Rochdale 2, Barnet 0.