A dominant Rochdale swept aside Newport County on Saturday afternoon with an impressive team performance in a 3-0 win at Spotland.
Goals from Peter Vincenti, Graham Cummins and Bastien Hery ensured victory for Dale, while Josh Lillis was also on hand to keep a clean sheet as he denied Newport's Adam Chapman from the penalty spot.
Manager Keith Hill made just one change to the eleven who started in the victory over Port Vale on Tuesday night as Matty Lund returned to the midfield to replace Bastien Hery, who dropped to the bench. Jamie Allen kept his place in the starting line-up, while George Donnelly returned to the bench after serving a three game ban.
Scott Hogan missed the match through injury.
As expected, the visitors were a strong physical side who were competitive on the ball, but Rochdale were impressive from start to finish as they stuck to their own mantra of playing a passing game.
During the opening moments of the game, ‘keeper Josh Lillis was called into action as he got behind a low drive from Newport’s David Pipe, while just sixty seconds later Graham Cummins flashed a header over the bar.
But it was on five minutes that Peter Vincenti opened the scoring in spectacular fashion. He picked the ball up 35 yards from goal, took a first touch and unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot past Lenny Pidgeley.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-0 NEWPORT COUNTY
Two minutes after Vincenti’s goal Cummins fired a deflected effort goalwards, but it was well saved by the ‘keeper, while up the other end a snap shot from Chris Zebroski was collected by Lillis.
It was a stop start affair with free-kicks aplenty due to the physical nature of the match, however when the game was in play, it was Rochdale who were dominant.
And Dale doubled their advantage on 37 minutes through on loan striker Graham Cummins, who netted on the re-bounded after Jamie Allen was denied by the cross bar. The goal marked his first for Dale since joining from Preston North End.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-0 NEWPORT COUNTY
Rochdale had opportunities to extend their lead further in the closing stages of the half and on the stroke of half time Matty Lund sent a powerful low drive in on goal from the edge of the area. While Pidgeley spilled the effort, no-one was able to get there in time to test him with a follow up effort and he did eventually smother the ball.
A minute later, Vincenti fired a half volley over the bar in what was the last opportunity of the half and Rochdale took a deserved two goal lead into the interval.
HT: ROCHDALE 2-0 NEWPORT COUNTY
There were no changes for Dale at the interval as Manager Keith Hill stayed as was for the second half.
As seen in the first half, it was Rochdale who were very much in control.
On 57 minutes, Matty Lund had Dale’s best opportunity of the half so far as he forced Pidgeley into a finger-tip save to send his effort round the post.
From the resulting corner, Graham Cummins came within inches of bagging his second of the afternoon, but his effort went narrowly wide of the upright.
On the hour mark Dale were on the hunt once more, as Lund delivered a menacing ball across the face of goal. Allen came sliding in at the back post, but he was unable to get a foot on it to send to keep it on target.
Two minutes later, the visitors were awarded penalty after the referee adjudged that Jack O’Connell had upended Conor Washington inside the area. From a Dale point of view it seemed soft as it appeared that the young centre half had won the ball.
Adam Chapman stepped up to take the resulting spot kick but was denied by Lillis who saved low to retain Dale’s two goal advantage.
Bastien Hery was introduced onto the field of play on 71 minutes as Jamie Allen left the pitch to a standing ovation, and the French youngster didn’t take long to stamp his mark on the match as he netted within a minute of his substitution.
Vincenti sent a cross into the area from the left hand side of play, and after taking time to control the ball, he slotted it past Pidgeley.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 3-0 NEWPORT COUNTY
Rochdale continued in pursuit of another, and Henderson came agonisingly close to netting what would have been a deserved goal on 79 minutes, but he was kept out by the woodwork. He had beaten the ‘keeper after chipping the ball up and over him from an angle, but was denied by the upright.
Three minutes later Pidgeley was called into action again as he pulled off a fine finger tip save to send a strike from Lund, which was destined for the top corner of the net, over the bar.
In stoppage time, Newport’s Zebroski hit the side netting, bringing the game to a close.
It finished Rochdale 3, Newport County 0.