Rochdale secured a point against league favourites Chesterfield on Saturday at Spotland in what was entertaining and fiery encounter between two high quality sides.
The Spireites took the lead in the first half through a Marc Richards header, but two penalty decisions within the space of a minute in Dale’s favour, saw Andrew Tutte net from one to draw level. Scott Hogan deservedly put Rochdale in front six minutes into the second half, before Gary Roberts levelled the scoring for the visitors shortly after the hour mark.
There were two changes to the Dale starting eleven for the visit of Chesterfield – Andrew Tutte replaced the suspended Peter Cavanagh, while onloan youngster Jack O’Connell started ahead of Ashley Eastham who was on the bench.
The Spireites started brightly and put Rochdale under the cosh for the opening ten minutes of the match, however their early pressure failed to pay dividends as the Dale defence proved to be a brick wall for the lively visitors.
After the initial pressure from the Spireites, the game opened up and it became end to end at Spotland in what was a fiery affair.
Although Chesterfield had been on top, Dale had shown flashes of the quick paced football we have become accustomed to during the opening period and on 13 minutes a piece of individual skill from Ian Henderson saw Rochdale have their first half chance of the game.
The winger, who was surrounded by three Chesterfield players on the edge of the area, twist and turned to free up space before attempting to hook the ball over Tommy Lee. The well worked effort went over the bar.
Two minutes later and the Spireites had their first real chance of the game - Jay O’Shea released Gary Roberts who fired a shot straight down the throat of Josh Lillis.
But it was on 19 minutes that the Spireites opened the scoring from what was a disappointing goal to concede from a Dale point of view. The Rochdale defence stood still allowing Marc Richards to nod past Lillis after getting on the end of a cross from Roberts.
GOAL: Rochdale 0-1 Chesterfield (Richards, 19 minutes)
In what was already an entertaining encounter for the spectator, the game then upped a gear as it roared into life shortly before the half hour mark after Dale were awarded two penalties inside the space of a minute.
Keith Hill’s side were awarded their first spot kick on 27 minutes after Michael Rose was felled inside the area by Sam Morsy. George Donnelly stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but was denied by the upright.
The ball re-bounded back into play, and it was during the immediate passage of play that Dale were given their second set piece from 12 yards. In a jammed packed box, Lee appeared to bring down Hogan. After the referee calmed the situation down and yellow cards were dished out to Lee and Roberts, Andrew Tutte smashed the spot kick into the back of the net to level the scoring on 31 minutes.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-1 CHESTERFIELD (Tutte, 31 minutes)
Chesterfield had just one effort on goal after the penalty as Dale finished the half on top - Lillis was forced to pull of a fantastic save to deny Richards who fired an effort at the ‘keeper from point blank range.
After the shot from Richards, Dale took control of the match. On 36 minutes, Hogan was denied by the feet of Lee, before Tutte fired over the bar from the follow up effort.
Peter Vincenti had an effort cleared off the line six minutes later, and Hogan had the last opportunity of the half as he sent a shot narrowly past the post.
HT: ROCHDALE 1-1 CHESTERFIELD
Rochdale started the second half in the same manner as they finished the first and were impressive during the 45 minutes.
It was Dale who were asking all the questions and on 51 minutes Hogan deservedly put Rochdale ahead in what was superbly worked move which left the Spireites defence left in no man’s land.
Rose picked out Hogan in the middle of the pitch and he flicked the ball out to Henderson the wing. Henderson used his pace to free himself for his marker and he found Hogan who had matched his run. After getting on the end of the ball just inside the area, Hogan fired a shot across the face of goal and in at the far post from an acute angle.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-1 CHESTERFIELD
Rochdale continued to dominate and proved a real handful for the visitors with some fantastic passing and link up play, however Chesterfield were always a threat in what continued to be a fiercely competitive encounter.
Despite being on top, Dale were unable to make the most it and it was Chesterfield who went onto equalise on 65 minutes with a goal that came out of nowhere.
Henderson got caught in possession in the midfield area and the Spireites player sent a ball over the top for Roberts. Lillis had come off his line to close it down, and Roberts lifted it over Lillis and into the back of the net.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-2 CHESTERFIELD
It was a disappointing goal to conceded, but Rochdale went in search of a third, however despite plenty of possession, they failed to truly test Lee.
With Dale unable to find on opening, Manager Keith Hill made his first substitution on 79 minute with Matty Done replacing Hogan who had again been impressive.
Rochdale continued to ask questions, but despite winning the midfield battle, they couldn’t find a much deserved third.
There was a nervy finish to the match as Chesterfield looked to find a winner. Jay O’Shea twice had opportunities on goal, but could only fire over from his first, and into the hands of Lillis with his second.
It finished Rochdale 2, Chesterfield 2.