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Rochdale 1-1 Bristol City

23 August 2014

Dale held to a draw at Spotland.

A first half goal Bristol City goal from Luke Freeman and a second half equaliser by Ian Henderson saw Rochdale and Bristol City share the points in a thrilling affair at Spotland Stadium.


Keith Hill named an unchanged team from Tuesdays night's 5-2 victory over Crewe Alexandra. Conrad Logan made his home debut in goal with the team lining up in front of him as Rafferty; Bennett; Eastham; Vincenti; Hery; Done; Tanser; Allen; Kennedy and Henderson. Former Rochdale goalkeeper Frank Fielding started between the posts for Bristol City.


The first real chance of the game came after 15 minutes of play, after a quick Rochdale break down the left hand side. Conrad Logan, having just collected the ball from a Bristol city cross, was alert to distribute the ball quickly to Rhys Bennett on the right hand side. His driving run ended with the ball played through to Done, who looked across goal for Ian Henderson but a defender managed to get his body in the way to knock the ball out for a corner.


Just one minute later however, it was 1-0 to Bristol City after Luke Freeman found the bottom corner of the Rochdale goal. The ball was worked down the right hand side of the pitch by Bristol City, eventually making it's way to Freeman who was lingering in plenty of space on the edge of the box. He was able to unleash a low drive which nestled into the bottom right corner of the goal.


Dale were soon creating another opportunity for themselves though. A long, searching, cross field ball found the head of Vincenti just inside the Bristol City area. His knock-down fell invitingly for Henderson but he sliced his left footed effort well wide of the goal.


The remainder of the first half saw saw Rochdale grow into the game and begin take relative control of proceedings. There were very few chances of note however, the best coming from a free kick midway into the Bristol City half. Ian Henderson delivered the ball deep towards the back post but the defender just about outmuscled Vincenti and rise highest into the air to head the ball clear of goal.


HALF TIME: Rochdale 0-1 Bristol City.


Dale started the second half the way that they finished the first - on top of proceedings, mounting the pressure upon the Bristol City defence, only the chances were coming thick and fast now.


The first came the way of Matty Done after he latched onto a knockdown from Ian Henderson. The ball was clipped into the area by Jamie Allen and was brought under control on the chest of Henderson. This fell to the left foot of Done on the box but his half volley was closed down by a wall of red shirts.


Vincenti was next to be denied after he was picked out magnificently by a Joe Rafferty cross. His powerful header could only be parried by Frank Fielding which fell back to the feet of Vincenti, who had to try and force the ball through a mass of bodies, but it was blocked not once, but twice by defenders on the line.


In the 56th minute however, the pressure finally told for Dale, as Ian Henderson slotted home the equaliser. Tom Kennedy, on the corner of the box played Matty Done through to the by-line, who quickly cut the ball back low accross goal. Henderson timed his run perfectly to get on the end of the ball to slot the it past Fielding and into the Bristol City goal.


Rochdale came very close to taking the lead ten minutes later as Joe Bunney's cross-come-shot nearly caught Fielding out at his near post, but the former Dale man reached up high to tip the ball over his crossbar.


Logan remained alert at the other end of the pitch to prevent Bristol from regaining the lead. Scott Wagstaff was played through on goal but the on-rushing goalkeeper kept himself big to get an arm in the way of the Bristol City forward's goal bound toe poke.


Dale came close to creating an exact replica of their first goal on 80 minutes as Joe Bunney this time was played through to the by-line. His low cut back across goal found the run of Ian Henderson but his effort was this time blocked by the despairing dive of the Bristol City defender.


With 30 seconds left of the 3 minutes added on at the end of the game, Rochdale came within a fingertip of claiming all three points. Rhys Bennett's early ball from the right hand side looped off the out-stretched leg of the defender and towards the diving header of Henderson. His contact was clean and the ball was going back across Fielding and into the bottom corner, but somehow the Bristol City goalkeeper managed to change direction and get down low to tip the ball around the post and rescue a point for his team.


FULL TIME: Rochdale 1-1 Bristol City


Rochdale can take a lot of pride in both the result, and their performance against a very strong Bristol City side. They could possibly have taken all three points in the second half, but on the balance of the whole game, a draw was a fair result in the end.


Attendance: 3,115


Man of the Match: Joe Rafferty


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