Rochdale recorded their second victory of the pre-season on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 win over FC Halifax Town in very hot conditions at the Shay Stadium.
Goals from George Donnelly and Bobby Grant sent Dale into a 2-0 lead, before Kevin Holsgrove pulled a goal back for the home side.
It was almost all change for Dale on Saturday afternoon as Manager Keith Hill gave the players who didn’t feature on Tuesday night against Northwich the opportunity of a run out.
Just one player who started on Tuesday night was given the nod on at the Shay; Ashley Eastham remained in the centre of Dale’s defence.
It was a strong Rochdale side who lined up against the Shaymen with the likes of Peter Cavanagh, Ian Henderson, Andrew Tutte, Bobby Grant and George Donnelly all being given their first run out of the pre-season.
Trialist Robbie Thomson who featured during the second half of the win over the Vics started in net, while supporters got their first glimpse of fellow trialist Lois Maynard who has been with Dale since the start of pre-season.
It was another hot day as the heat wave across the country continued and the players had to endure temperatures of almost 30 degrees.
The home side started the brighter of the two teams and had the better of the opportunities during the early opening period with the Shaymen’s Josh Wilson and Adam Smith proving to be a handful for the Dale defence.
Much of Halifax Town’s effective play came down the right hand channel, and inside the first minute they showed their intent as Smith fired a diving header wide of the upright after getting on the end of a Smith cross.
Six minutes later and Smith again was involved in the action for the home side has he twisted and turned his way past two of Dale’s back four before taking the ball inside and unleashing a shot which deflected off his own man inside the 18 yard box and back into play.
On 12 minutes, Halifax were on the hunt again and this time it was Lee Gregory who picked out Wilson with a pass which sent him through on goal. He smashed the effort over the bar.
Rochdale were on the back foot in terms of chances created, but with the homeside yet to find an ontarget shot, Thomson remained relatively untested, and it was Dale who went on to take the lead just two minutes later.
Andrew Tutte floated a free-kick in from the left hand-side close to goalkeeper Phil Senior who fumbled it inside his six yard-box. George Donnelly was there to side foot it into the back of the net to give Dale a 1-0 lead on 14 minutes.
While Halifax continued to be lively, Rochdale never looked out of control as the half played out in a pre-season friendly style fashion in sweltering hot temperatures.
Shortly before the half hour the Shaymen’s Dan Gardner sent a half volley over the bar, while trialist ‘keeper Thomson reacted quickly to stave off the danger soon afterwards from a Lee Gregory ball across the six yard box. Thomson came off his line to the snatch ball before Wilson, who was waiting at the far post, could get on the end of it.
As the half approached the interval, Ian Henderson and Bobby Grant linked up well to test the Halifax defence, but after some good footwork which bamboozled the Shaymen central pairing, Hendo dragged his shot wide of the target.
And in the final minute of the half former Dale defender Matty Pearson, who started in the centre of midfield for the home side, found Wilson on the edge of the area. The number 9, who could have had hat-trick, again blasted over the bar.
HT: FC Halifax Town 0-1 Rochdale
After a 15 minute break from the scorching temperatures, an unchanged Dale eleven emerged for the start of the second half.
Halifax continued in an uptempo fashion and within 60 seconds of the re-start sent another off target effort in on goal - Sean Williams firing a powerful drive over the bar.
Similarly to the first half, Rochdale looked comfortable with the home side’s play and coped well with the pressure without running themselves into the ground.
And on 53 minutes the patient play paid dividends as Dale took a 2-0 lead through a trademark Bobby Grant goal. He nestled a left footed curler from the edge of the area in the bottom corner of the net.
On the hour mark Donnelly had the opportunity to make it three for Rochdale, but he failed to make the most of a mistake from Senior. The ‘keeper had come well off his line and was in danger of handling outside his box so had to leave the ball for the waiting Donnelly who attempted to take it round Senior. In the end the goalkeeper tracked back and got down low to snatch it from the feet of Donnelly before he could get a shot away.
Matty Done was introduced onto the field of play on 71 minutes in the only change of the game for Dale. Grant made way for Done who was given his first run out since returning to Dale earlier this week.
The Shaymen made several substitutions as the game continued and it was through sub Kevin Holsgrove that they pulled a goal back on 72 minutes. He out muscled a Dale defender before rounding another and firing a powerful drive into the top of the net.
It finished FC Halifax Town 1-2 Rochdale