The second friendly match of the pre-season saw Dale matching up against FC Halifax Town at the Shay Stadium. Keith Hill chose to make a number of changes to the team that played on Saturday against AFC Fylde with a much more experienced squad.
The team chosen to face the Shaymen was Josh Lillis, Brian Barry-Murphy, Sean McGinty, Michael Rose, Ollie Lancashire, Peter Vincenti, Matty Lund, Ian Henderson, George Donnelly, Joe Bunney, Matty Done and Andy Cannon. On the substitute bench for Dale were Callum Camps, Scott Tanser, Bastien Hery, Ashley Eastham and trialist Cameron Park.
There were a couple of familiar names in the FC Halifax Town line up with former Rochdale defender Matty Pearson and former trialist Lois Maynard featuring.
Rochdale’s formation was very similar to that on Saturday with Ollie Lancashire, Brian Barry-Murphy and Sean McGinty playing in a central three with Peter Vincenti playing a right wing back role with Rose taking a similar position on the left. Matty Lund seemed to be in a defensive midfield position with Matty Done, Joe Bunney and Ian Henderson playing an advanced midfield role with Done more towards the left and Joe Bunney towards the right with Goerge Donnelly playing up front.
The game started at quite a pace with Dale having the first real chance of note. A Michael Rose flick on fell to George Donnelly who passed wide for Matty Done to cross but a Peter Vincenti shot at the back post was blocked.
The first goal of the game came on seven minutes. An excellent run down the right by Matt Smith was blocked for a corner which was delivered into the centre of the box. After an initial shot was blocked Danny Schofield had another effort that took a huge deflection off Olly Lancashire and wrong footed Josh Lillis to end up in the Dale goal.
Halifax had the upper hand at this point chasing down every ball and putting a lot of pressure onto the Dale back line forcing Dale into playing long balls out rather than playing through the midfield. The main man for the Shaymen was their number 7 Adam Smith playing on the right wing causing the Dale defenders constant problems every time he got the ball.
It took until around the thirty minute mark for Dale to gain a real foothold in the game and find their flow a bit more. A cross from Joe Bunney on the left just evaded the head of Peter Vincenti, and then a follow up cross could only find he hands of the Halifax goalkeeper. Moments later a lovely lobbed ball over the top by Brian Barry-Murphy was chased by Ian Henderson but again his cross could only find the Halifax goalkeeper.
Dale continued to have a good amount of possession for the rest of the first half but couldn’t find that incisive pass due to some excellent defending by Halifax, limiting Dale to a shot outside of the box by Ian Henderson who couldn’t quite beat the goalkeeper.
A long range shot from Halifax had Josh Lillis at full stretch just before the half time whistle but he managed to hold onto the ball and the referee duly blew for half time with the score AFC Halifax 1-0 Rochdale.
The second half began with no changes in personnel for Rochdale. Around 5 minutes into the half a cross from Scott Boden for Halifax was hit just over the bar by Ross Dyer.
The next few minutes for Dale followed a similar path for the Dale players as the first half with plenty of possession again but crosses into the box were well dealt with easily by the Halifax defence. It was Halifax who had the next real chance and they should have made it two nil. Sean McGinty was caught on the ball and a pass into the centre of the box found a Halifax player with plenty of time and space but his shot crashed off the bar and the ball was scrambled away for a corner.
It was from the resulting corner that the hosts did double their lead on fifty nine minutes. The corner came in from the right and was headed goalwards finding Scott Boden two yards out who flicked the ball into the back of the net.
At this point Keith Hill decided to make a couple of changes with Callum Camps coming on for Joe Bunney and Joe Rafferty replacing Brian Barry-Murphy.
The changes had the desired effect, with Callum Camps proving to be a real thorn in the side of the Shaymen. He managed to force a corner from the Halifax defence but again the resulting cross failed to find a Dale player.
Shortly after this Rochdale were able to break from a Halifax corner with Ian Henderson running through the centre with the ball but with no real options open to him he was tackled by a Halifax defender and the moment passed.
The minutes ticked by and Callum Camps forced another corner for Dale, but when Ian Henderson’s delivery into the box was cleared to Michael Rose on the edge of the box the ball wouldn’t quite sit right for him and his shot went over the bar.
Shortly after this Peter Vincenti did have the ball in the back of the net from an Ian Henderson cross but the linesman flagged for offside before any celebrating could be done.
With the game coming into the last ten minutes Dale were finding a bit more space, with Matty Done in particular having the freedom of the left hand side but still the Halifax defence were resolute and cleared any balls into the box.
Callum Camps managed to win Dale another corner but Ollie Lancashire couldn’t make clean contact at the back post from Michael Rose’s delivery.
With the last action of the game Dale did manage to finally get on the score sheet, and it was substitute Callum Camps who got it. George Donnelly managed to pinch the ball from a defender in the box and his cut back found Camps who slotted the ball past the Halifax keeper to make it 2-1 to the Shaymen and that is how the game ended.