Ten man Rochdale started 2014 with a New Year’s Day defeat at Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park.
A second half strike from Dave Syers broke the deadlock, before Dale were reduced to ten men, turning the game on its head. A late brace from Sam Winnall secured three points for the Iron, in what was a fiery encounter.
The win for the home side sent them top of the Sky Bet League Two table, four points ahead of Dale in the promotion race.
Manager Keith Hill named an unchanged eleven/squad for the match against the Iron, while his counterpart made one change to the side who saw off Oxford United on Sunday.
Swirling wind and driving rain made for difficult conditions at Glanford Park, however the surface was in a decent condition, despite the down pour prior to kick-off.
And it was a relatively even opening period, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball, without carving out any clear cut opportunities.
It was a hard fought out affair, however it was Rochdale who came closest to opening to scoring when Matty Lund sent a speculative effort in on goal from 25-yards in the 19th minute. The shot whistled narrowly over the bar.
The game really began to open up after that with both teams applying the pressure, more so the Iron who kept a resolute Dale defence busy for a short spell.
Shortly after Lund’s audacious effort from distance, Deon Burton left Josh Lillis rooted to the spot with an effort from just outside the area. Although the ‘keeper was beaten, the shot travelled just inches wide of the upright.
And less than two minutes later, Sam Winnall sent a glancing header across the face of goal and narrowly past the wrong side of the upright.
While the home side enjoyed a spell of pressure, they were unable to find a way past Dale, and it was Keith Hill’s side who finished the half on top in terms of clear cut chances created.
In the 39th minute goalkeeper Sam Slocombe pulled off a fantastic save at his near post to deny a Scott Hogan diving header, before Lund had a dangerous effort deflected wide.
HT: Scunthorpe United 0-0 Rochdale
There were no changes at the interval as Manager Keith Hill stayed as was for the start of the second half.
Rochdale started the half brightly and were asking most of the questions before going behind against the run of play on 58 minutes.
Scunthorpe United’s Winnall snatched the ball in the middle of the pitch before running up the left hand flank. He appeared to be on his own but with some great vision picked out Dave Syers, who fired a powerful effort from distance past Lillis.
And just over five minutes later tempers flared in the Iron half following an angry reaction to what was either a tackle or words exchanged.
A fracas followed and after much deliberation, three Dale players went in the book – Hogan, George Donnelly and Peter Cavanagh, while Deon Burton was also shown yellow for his playing his part.
The atmosphere remained fiery after the incident and Manager Keith Hill was quick to substitute Hogan and Cavanagh had gone in the book. Scunthorpe also made a change, with Terry Hawkridge being replaced by Hakeeb Adelakun.
Despite being behind, Rochdale remained positive and they continued in search of an equaliser. In the 79th minute they had their best opportunity of the game, but were denied only by some fine goalkeeping from Slocombe. A dangerous Rose cross was met sweetly by the head of Cummins, but a quick reaction save from the ‘keeper sent the goal-bound effort up and over the bar.
And it was just moments later that Dale reduced to ten men after Rose received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, despite appearing to win the ball from substitute Adelakun.
The Iron went on to make their one man advantage count – Winnall netting twice.
In the 82nd minute he picked up the ball inside the penalty area and drove a shot from an acute angle into the top corner of the net.
His second of the afternoon followed two minutes later, after beating the off-side trap to get on the end of a through ball, he coolly sent the ball past Lillis to wrap up the points for the Iron.
It finished Scunthorpe United 3, Rochdale 0.