Rochdale exited the Lancashire Senior Cup on Friday afternoon with a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at Spotland.
Dale’s under 18 side, with the addition of experienced first team midfielder Brian Barry Murphy, lined up against City’s Elite Development Squad for a place in the final against either Manchester United or Oldham Athletic.
There were four changes to the Dale eleven who lined up against Wigan Atheltic in Wednesday’s Lancashire Youth Cup final win. Callum Hill, George Leigh, Connor Martin and Danny Whitehall were given a well-deserved rest with the latter three dropping to the bench to make way for Brian Barry-Murphy, Jack Horan, Ola Rabiu and Callum Camps who had returned from international duty.
Dedryk Boyata, Denis Suarez and Filipe Mancini, the son of City Manager Roberto Mancini, were named amongst the visitors’ squad for the match at Spotland.
The match failed to spark to life during the first half as both teams failed to find a fluency to their play due to the stop start nature of the game. The encounter was a physical one and with free kicks aplenty, neither team was able to get a foothold on the game.
And City were forced into their first substitution of the match with ten minutes played after the Marcos Lopes hobbled off injured. He was replaced by Sinan Bytyqi.
Clear cut opportunities were at premium which made for a quiet afternoon for both goalkeepers, but when Dale’s Aaron Ashley was called into action shortly after the half hour, he pulled off a fine save from substitute Sinan Bytyqi who rifled a powerful effort down his throat from close range.
Dale were also forced into a first half substitution as defender Scott Tanser limped off on 44 minutes. On came Connor Martin, but the team didn’t have time to re-group and City took the lead with a soft goal just a minute later.
Suarez got on the end of a cross and looped the ball over the head of ‘keeper Ashley to give the visitors a one goal advantage heading into the interval.
HT: ROCHDALE 0-1 MANCHESTER CITY
After the interval Manchester City doubled their lead within five minutes of the re-start through Boyata. Goalkeeper Ashley kept out an initial shot from Olivier Ntcham, but was unable to stop the rebound effort from Boyata who struck it past the floored ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
Rochdale went in search of response, but were caught on the break by City shortly after the hour mark as the visitors came forward at speed. Suarez got on the end of a through ball before cutting the ball back for City Skipper Emyr Huws who side footed it past Ashley.
Dale looked to be feeling the effects of Wednesday’s Lancashire Youth Cup final, and despite digging deep with every ounce of energy, they were unable to find a way past a well organised City.
The game seemed to peter out as the visitors held a comfortable lead and Rochdale were unable to break down the Blues. The most notable opportunity during the remainder of the match fell to Rusnak who had a close range effort saved by Ashley, while Horan did well to charge down a shot from Suarez which was heading towards goal.
It finished Rochdale 0, Manchester City 3.
Rochdale: Ashley, Antonine-Clarke, O’Connor, Horan, Tanser, Rabui, Barry-Murphy, Allen, Logan, Camps, Cannon. Subs: Martin, Whitehall, Leigh.
Manchester City: Lawlor, Wabara, Marin, Huws, Plummer, Boyata, Rusnak, Suarez, Ntcham, Lopez, Razak. Subs: Facey, Johansen, Evans, Bytyqi, Mancini.