Rochdale made it three clean sheets in five following a goalless draw against Barnet on a bitterly cold afternoon in North London.
In a scrappy affair, both teams failed to test the opposition ‘keeper during a first half which failed to provide any entertainment in front of goal. However in a much improved second half, Rochdale had a penalty shout turned down, while Barnet had the best opportunity of the game when Andy Yiadom’s effort crashed off the underside of the bar and back into play.
Dale headed into the match buoyed by last Saturday’s win over Torquay and Manager Keith Hill named an unchanged eleven for the encounter at the Underhill Stadium.
The game failed to spark into life during the first half as neither team really got a grip of the match. In what was a lack lustre 45 minutes, both goalkeepers didn’t have a save to make as opportunities in front of goal were limited.
Dale’s only chance of the half fell to George Donnelly shortly after the half hour mark but he missed the volley at the crucial moment and the ball skipped under his feet and out to Andy Haworth whose follow up effort was blocked and sent back into play.
60 seconds later and Barnet’s Dani Lopez sent a speculative effort from distance in on goal, but the low drive well wide of the upright.
HT: BARNET 0-0 ROCHDALE
The second half was a brighter affair as the teams went in search of the goal which would separate the two sides.
The Bees got out the traps the quickest and just a minute after the re-start Jake Hyde caused problems for the Rochdale defence with his quick foot work. Several Dale players threw their bodies in the way of the frontman as he attempted to get a shot in on goal with several repeat efforts, but the danger was finally cleared as Shane Cansdell-Sherriff stepped up to mop up the threat.
Up the other end, Donnelly drew a save from Graham Stack just a minute later. The effort never looked to be troubling the ‘keeper as it failed to gather pace, but he made a meal of it all the same as he palmed it down into the area before diving to smother the ball to keep an in-running Donnelly at bay.
On 52 minutes Lillis was forced into a crucial finger-tip save to deny Mark Byrne whose cross-come-shot looked destined to sneak under the cross bar, while a minute later Stack was also called into action as he pulled off a fine save to send a ferocious effort from Terry Gornell over the bar from 20 yards.
Rochdale had a penalty claim turned down on 77 minutes when Bennett appeared to have been pushed to the ground inside the 18 yard box as a corner was whipped in, while just two minutes later Barnet were denied by the woodwork.
A Byrne right wing cross was met by the head of Dale’s Bennett, but thankfully it crashed off the underside of the crossbar with Lillis clawing the ball away.
In the closing stages of the match Craig Beattie rattled a powerful effort narrowly past the post, while Jason Kennedy came within inches with a first time volley.
It finished Barnet 0-0 Rochdale.