Goals from Matty Lund, Peter Vincenti, Ian Henderson and Jack O’Connell saw Rochdale record a comfortable 4-1 win over Colchester United at the Weston Homes Stadium on Saturday.
Lund opened the scoring in the 25th minute, before Vincenti doubled Dale’s advantage four minutes later. Henderson netted from the spot with 40 minutes on the clock to give Keith Hill’s a three goal half time lead. O’Connell rounded off the scoring seven minutes after the interval.
There were four changes to the side that started against Aldershot Town in Sunday’s FA Cup tie. Joe Rafferty, Jack O’Connell, Matty Lund were named in the eleven, as was Matty Done, who returned from suspension. Bastien Hery and Calvin Andrew dropped to the bench, while Jamie Allen and Scott Tanser were missing from the squad altogether.
The home side started brightly, applying pressure from kick-off, but despite their early threat, they were only able to create a couple of half chances, one of which came from a corner ball in the fifth minute.
After being played low into the area, O’Connell could only clear the corner ball as far as George Moncur, who fired an effort into the hands of an alert Conrad Logan.
Dale also had an opportunity from a set-piece, but as Rose’s free-kick was flicked on by Henderson, the Colchester defender sent the ball behind for a corner. It was an important clearance, with O’Connell stalking at the post.
With a quarter of an hour played, the U’s had their best opportunity of the half after Freddie Sears beat the offside trap, but after pulling the ball back across the face of goal, Logan was there with a timely block to stave off the danger.
Rochdale moved up a gear shortly after, turning up the pressure, and with 25 minutes on the clock Lund put Dale ahead. Rose’s free-kick was parried away by Sam Walker, as far as the midfielder at the near post, who fired into the roof of the net.
GOAL: COLCHESTER UNITED 0-1 ROCHDALE (Lund, 25)
Four minutes later and Rochdale added a second.
Done’s initial effort was beat away by Walker, who could do nothing to keep out Vincenti on the rebound.
GOAL: COLCHESTER UNITED 0-2 ROCHDALE (Vincenti, 29)
The speed at which Dale were attacking caused all manner of problems for the Colchester defence and ten minutes later, the woodwork stood between Henderson and a Rochdale third.
Hendo had beat his marker on the left hand flank, before getting to the near post where the ‘keeper, despite getting down to try to block his effort, failed to gather, and inadvertently turned it onto the post.
Three minutes later and Dale were denied by the woodwork for a second time after Hendo get on the end of a Rose corner. His header crashed off the underside of the bar, before bouncing back into play.
Dale continued on the ascendency, and on 40 minutes were awarded a penalty after Stephen Dawson was upended in the box.
Walker got a hand to Henderson’s spot-kick, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from rolling over the line.
GOAL: COLCHESTER UNITED 0-3 ROCHDALE
In stoppage time, the home-side’s Sears was kept out by the post.
HT: COLCHESTER UNITED 0-3 ROCHDALE
There were two changes for the U’s at the interval with Sanchez Watts and Elliot Watt making way for Gavin Massey and Sean Clohessy.
And Massey made the difference at the start of the half as he pulled one back for the home side five minutes after the re-start, with a low drive from 20-yards.
GOAL: COLCHESTER UNITED 1-3 ROCHDALE (50)
But any hopes of what would have been an unexpected come back given their first half showing were quashed as O’Connell netted for Dale seven minutes later.
The on loan Blackburn defender headed home at the back post after getting on the end of a Rose corner ball.
GOAL: COLCHESTER UNITED 1-4 ROCHDALE (O’Connell, 57)
The U’s were improved in the second half, but Dale remained comfortable, with Logan only having one notable save to make, in the 73rd minute.
After a cross came in from the left hand side, he punched the ball clear as far as Sears, who fired an effort goal-wards. The excellent Logan reacted quickly to throw his body in the way of the shot, denying the forward.
In stoppage time, Henderson was again denied by the woodwork – this time he was kept out by the cross bar.
FT: COLCHESTER UNITED 1-4 ROCHDALE