Rochdale brought festive cheer to home supporters on Thursday afternoon with a comprehensive Boxing Day victory over Mansfield Town at Spotland.
The 3-0 win over the Stags came courtesy of a Scott Hogan double and a goal from Matty Lund.
Hogan opened the scoring on five minutes, before Lund doubled Dale’s advantage seven minutes later. Hogan wrapped up the three points for Rochdale shortly after the break.
There were three changes to the side who lined up against Southend United on Friday night. Robbie Thomson was handed a debut as he replaced Josh Lillis who missed out due to illness. Peter Cavanagh made his first start since August, while Peter Vincenti was also included in the eleven. Ashley Eastham and Jamie Allen were on the bench.
Rochdale started the game brightly and took the lead after just five minutes – Scott Hogan with the goal. Graham Cummins was the provider as he delivered a perfect cross into the box from the left hand side for the awaiting Hogan, who opened the scoring with a postage stamp header.
GOAL: Rochdale 1-0 Mansfield Town (Hogan, 5 minutes)
It was a deserved goal, with Dale showing quality during the opening exchanges and the rest of the match. Just moments before Hogan broke the deadlock, a sweeping move forward from the home side opened up the Mansfield Town defence. Peter Vincenti did well to win the ball inside his own half, playing in Hogan who sent the ball wide to Michael Rose. The left full back fired an effort goal wards and into the hands of ‘keeper Alan Marriot.
Rochdale looked comfortable and they doubled their advantage in the 12th minute through Matty Lund, who fired home after getting on the end of a low ball across the face of goal from Vincenti.
GOAL: Rochdale 2-0 Mansfield Town (Lund, 12 minutes)
Dale remained in control and on the half hour mark Ian Henderson came close to extending Rochdale’s lead further.
After linking up with Cummins, he rifled a shot goal wards from just outside the 18-yard box. It troubled ‘keeper Marriot, but the effort flew just inches over the bar.
For a short spell the visitors made more of an impact, but failed to put Rochdale under pressure, and it was Dale who finished the half on top.
In stoppage time in the first half Cummins had an opportunity to net Dale’s third of the afternoon, but he sent a first time volley over the bar after getting on the end of fine cross from Joe Rafferty.
HT: Rochdale 2-0 Mansfield Town
After what was an almost 20 minute break, the second half got underway in unusual circumstances with the referee starting the match before Mansfield Town had all eleven players on the pitch. The referee waited for a late Calvin Andrew to join his team mates, but started the half without Ollie Palmer, who took his time returning to the action. He took his place in the Stags’ attacking line around 30 seconds after the re-start.
Rochdale started the half in a high tempo fashion and in the 49th minute put the visitors’ defence under pressure with yet another well worked move.
Hogan, who was energetic all afternoon, drove down the right hand side of play before picking out Henderson in the middle of the pitch. He was through one on one with Marriot, who pulled off a timely block. And while the ‘keeper stopped Henderson from getting a shot away, he was unable to smother the ball and it was picked up Cummins, who blasted an on target effort at goal from an acute angle. It was cleared off the line by the Stags and sent out for a corner.
And it was good work from the resulting corner which led to Dale’s third of the afternoon.
Rose delivered a fantastic ball into a dangerous position and Hogan found the back of the net from close range.
GOAL: Rochdale 3-0 Mansfield Town (Hogan, 50 minutes)
Momentum stayed with Dale and two minutes later there were appeals for a penalty as Rose was up ended. The referee adjudged that he had been brought down on the edge of the area and a free-kick was awarded. Lund took the resulting set piece, but Marriot was there to collect.
Shortly before the hour mark another swift move from Dale saw Rose send another dangerous ball into the box – Hogan made himself available and he fired a powerful effort at the ‘keeper, forcing him into an important save to deny the front man.
Dale were in cruise control, and ten minutes later Cummins, who was played in by a ball over the top, was unable to get the all important shot away as he was closed down by a timely block from substitute Lindon Meikle.
Similarly to the first half Mansfield Town enjoyed a short period of possession towards the end of the half, but a cool Dale stood strong and looked unfazed by the late showing, and looked comfortable until the full time whistle.
It finished Rochdale 3, Mansfield Town 0.