A frustrating afternoon for Rochdale at the Pirelli Stadium saw ten man Dale fall to a 1-0 defeat against Burton Albion.
Rochdale faced an uphill task after Captain Peter Cavanagh was sent off after just seven minutes, but despite holding their own for the majority of the match, they left the Pirelli empty handed after an own goal from Olly Lancashire gave the home-side a 1-0 win.
Manager Keith Hill named the same starting who inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Hartlepool United at Spotland last weekend.
But the side were dealt a blow after Captain Peter Cavanagh was shown a harsh straight red card after a collision with the Brewers’ Robbie Wear on seven minutes
Cavanagh had already received a warning inside 30 seconds after an accidental high boot from the skipper left Wear holding his face, and seven minutes later it was Wear who appeared to collide with Cavanagh in the centre of the pitch before going to ground. However the referee immediately gave the number four his marching orders, much to the disbelief of the travelling support.
After the sending off, the game failed to spark into life in terms of goal mouth action, but with the tone set following the dismal, it became a heated affair through frustration. With free-kicks aplenty, the two teams were unable to get a grip on the match due to the stop start nature of the game.
Both goalkeepers were untested during the half, however the home side took the lead on 43 minutes through a Dale own goal. Rene Howe chased onto a through ball and Rochdale’s Olly Lancashire, who had slid in to try and intercept it, turned the ball into his own net.
Opportunities had been at a premium during the half, and up until the goal, the only notable effort of the half had come from the home-side’s Adam McGurk who headed narrowly over the bar after getting on the end of a corner ball on 41 minutes.
It was a blow for Rochdale who had held their own throughout the half despite the early sending off.
HT: BURTON ALBION 1-0 ROCHDALE
Manager Keith Hill made two changes for the start of the second half with Scott Hogan and Ian Henderson making way for Matty Done and Andrew Tutte.
They were positive substitutions which saw Dale apply more pressure in the final third, however it was the home-side who had the first two opportunities of the half, before George Donnelly had Rochdale’s best chance of the game so far.
On 49 minutes, Billy Kee trundled a shot from an acute angle narrowly past the post, while Josh Lillis had to be alert to keep out Chris Hussey who headed an effort down at the near post shortly awards. The goalkeeper was quick to collect.
The second half was a brighter affair, and the football was end to end at times, and shortly after the half hour mark, George Donnelly had Rochdale’s best chance of the game so far after Dale broke on the counter attack.
The majority of the players had gone back to defend the Burton attack, and with no-one in the box, he looked up on the edge of the area and fired a powerful dipping effort just over the bar.
Three minutes later on 65 minutes, the Brewers again came close, this time from a corner ball. The on-running Wear made his way inside the six yard box to the back post, but he couldn’t connect properly with the ball and it bounced narrowly past the upright.
SUBSTITUTE FOR DALE: OFF VINCENTI, ON BUNNEY (71 MINUTES)
After the substitution, Dale were a handful for the Brewers defence as they played a passing game, but they were unable to convert, despite asking most of the questions with just ten men.
And it was Donnelly who again was involved in the thick of the action as he did all the hard-work after out muscling a Brewer in the middle of the pitch and winning the ball back. He could only send his final effort wide of the target.
On 85 minutes, the home-side’s Ian Sharps headed over from a corner, before former Dale loanee Michael Symes missed a glaring opportunity from inside the area as he hit over the bar, in what was the final opportunity of the game.
It finished Burton Albion 1, Rochdale 0.