Dale XI v Port Vale: Lovett, Samuels, Hooper, Kisimba (Pratt 72), Sinclair (Evans (U16s) 79), Coyne, Hasler-Cregg, Berry, Bell, Reid, Smalley. Subs: Robinson (U16s), Shawcross (U16s)
Scorers – Billy Hasler-Cregg, Brandon Smalley, Dominic Reid x2
The first half started very bright with the Rochdale side dominating the game with good spells of possession moving the ball quickly. Port Vale looked to play direct into their strikers, both Omar Sinclair and Louis Coyne dealt with this superbly winning countless headers, along with Yomi Samuels and James Hooper. They looked a solid unit with the balls at their feet and in the air. As the first half wore on, Rochdale began to step up the pressure on the Port Vale back line with Dom Reid, Nyal Bell, Billy Hasler-Cregg and Brandon Smalley causing major problems. Energy, intelligent movement and added quality, a goal was awaiting to happen.
And so it did, great play down the right side with good link up play a cross came into the box, headed away by the Port Vale defender for a corner. From this resulting corner, Hooper and Hasler-Cregg were quickly switched on playing the short corner surprisingly Port Vale. Hopper played the ball into Hasler-Cregg in the box who wriggled past a couple of defenders before smashing the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot for the opener. 1-0 Dale
The pressure continued, and shortly after, some creative play down the left hand side from Bell saw him playing in Kisimba Kisimba for the ball to be crossed into the box. This was a good delivery which had to be dealt with by the defenders. From the second ball which was headed high outside the box around 20 yards, Smalley connected with the ball and hit a thunderous strike into the top left hand corner. Excellent technique, great goal. The ball is still travelling now! 2-0 Dale
HT: PORT VALE 0-2 ROCHDALE
More of the same was asked of the players as they returned to the pitch after half time. Rochdale were right on top of this game dominating the possession still moving the ball quickly with good movements and quality.
The third goal came from a Port Vale corner, ‘keeper Rhys Lovett came and caught the cross distributing the ball early to Kisimba who had countered quickly. He gained the ball at his feet from the throw and played a delightful pass into the path of Reid, who created his own space in between the two defenders. As he ran onto the ball, one on one, with the goalkeeper, he kept his cool and calmly slotted the ball into the net down the side of the keeper. 3-0 Dale
A few moments later, Kisimba regained the ball from a Port Vale player on the left hand side playing a pass across the pitch. After the ball had been played, an ‘off the ball incident’ happened resulting in Kisimba on the floor and the linesman waving his flag frantically. After a short discussion with the referee, the Port Vale player was sent off and the home side were reduced to ten men. A sub was made by Rochdale as Kisimba made way for Harry Pratt.
Playing against ten men can be hard at times as the opposition team make life difficult sitting behind the ball and playing on the counter attack. But after great play out from the back and good possession on the left hand side, Hasler-Cregg received the ball in the central area around the half way line. Reid had called for the ball to be played and Hasler-Cregg put it on the money for him. Great run and a great pass found
Reid in a one on one situation again, and he slid the ball through the on rushing keeper’s legs. 4-0 Dale
After making three subs and having a man sent off, one of the Port Vale players collided with Lovett attacking a corner and injured himself quite baldly resulting in the Vale playing with nine men.
Shortly after, a great experience was handed to Declan Evans who made his debut for the Dale Youth Team. The under 16 replaced Sinclair.
In the later stages of the game, Port Vale regained the ball back and looked to break quick and scored a consolation goal. 4-1 Dale
As the final whistle and the handshakes were made, a few disappointed faces came off the pitch thinking about not having kept a clean sheet, but it should take nothing away from the players and their excellent performance throughout the game. They scored some fantastic goals, had fantastic energy and commitment, plus a real team work ethic to perform the Rochdale way and win the game.
Well Done All!