Rochdale secured their fourth successive victory on Tuesday night to remain top of the Sky Bet League Two table.
Goals from Matty Lund, Ian Henderson and Peter Vincenti saw a dominant Dale record a comfortable 3-0 win over Portsmouth at Spotland.
Lund opened the scoring with 16 minutes on the clock, before two quick fire goals wrapped up the points for Keith Hill’s side. Hendo doubled Dale’s advantage shortly before the hour mark, and Vincenti headed home four minutes later to secure victory.
There were three changes for the game against Pompey, two enforced due to injury. Ashley Eastham and Captain Peter Cavanagh, who were side lined, were replaced by Rhys Bennett and Matty Lund, respectively, while Joe Bunney made way for George Donnelly. Jack O’Connell and Scott Hogan were again unable to feature due to injury.
The match started at a blistering rate and inside the first 90 seconds both sides had an opportunity on goal.
The visitors earned their first corner of the game less than a minute after kick-off, and after Dale struggled to hit clear, Toumani Diagouraga fired an on target snapshot at Josh Lillis, who got down low to collect.
Dale broke and immediately up the other end Jamie Allen saw a glancing header go fractionally wide of the upright after getting on the end of a Matty Done cross into the six yard box.
With nine minutes on the clock Pompey were denied on the line, as Done cleared a powerful header from Bondz N’Gala away at the back post. Diagouraga helped the ball back into the mix, and Joe Devera headed over from close range.
minute. Hendo sent a corner ball deep towards the back post, which was headed back across the face of goal by Bennett, before being headed beyond Trevor Carson from less than six yards by Lund.thIt was end to end during the opening exchanges but it was Dale who broke the deadlock in the 16
GOAL: Rochdale 1-0 Portsmouth (Lund, 16 minutes)
Momentum stayed with Dale after the goal and they launched wave after wave of attack on the visitors. Pompey defended well to stave off the danger, most of which was coming through a lively Donnelly.
The striker was causing all sorts of problems for the Portsmouth defence and was most notably involved in two opportunities, midway through the half.
minute Donnelly worked hard to pick up a Portsmouth stray ball, before sending it on the turn into the box. Vincenti was at the back post, but he was marginally beaten to it by his marker. Five minutes later, Donnelly and Vincenti linked up again, as he picked out the Jersey man in the 18-yard box. Vincenti cut the ball back to Lund, who fired an effort at Carson, forcing him down low to save.thIn the 24
Rochdale’s work-rate meant Portsmouth were being given no time on the ball and Dale continued on top until the interval.
Five minutes before the break Done earned applause from the supporters after running from inside his own half, and seeing off several challenges, before sending the ball towards the back post. It was met by the head of Vincenti, whose effort was just past the post.
HT: ROCHDALE 1-0 PORTSMOUTH
There were no changes for either side at half time.
The tempo seen in the first half continued after the break and within just two minutes of the re-start the visitors were awarded a set piece around 25-yards from goal. The Dale wall blocked the free-kick, allowing Donnelly to break on the attack. He surged forward the length of the Portsmouth half, but could only find the side netting after getting a shot away under pressure.
A minute later Lund was allowed a free header from a Rafferty cross, but his effort was agonisingly wide of the upright.
minute as Jed Wallace struck from distance, but his effort failed to truly test Lillis as the ‘keeper comfortably collected.thPortsmouth had a rare sight on goal from open play in the 58
Rochdale were on the attack immediately from kick-out, with Henderson taking control of the long ball forward. He took it round the defender, before sending a powerful right footed shot beyond Carson and in at his post, doubling Dale’s advantage.
GOAL: Rochdale 2-0 Portsmouth (Henderson, 59 minutes)
In the moments after the goal, N’Gala had a powerful effort saved by Lillis, but a rampant Rochdale extended their lead further through Vincenti, who netted just four minutes after Henderson had extended Dale’s lead. Vincenti rose highest to get on the end of a Done cross, sending it in under the cross bar.
GOAL: Rochdale 3-0 Portsmouth (Vincenti, 63 minutes)
Jack Whatmough stood between Henderson and a fourth goal for Dale as he got a timely block in to see a dangerous ball across the face of goal from Donnelly out of play. Hendo had been stalking at the back post, but the Pompey player did enough to steer the ball behind.
Dale’s first substitution of the half followed as Donnelly, who went off to a standing ovation, was replaced by Graham Cummins.
Rochdale remained in control, however Wes Fogden could have netted a consolation goal in stoppage time as he was played in on goal. He could only hit well over the bar.
It finished Rochdale 3, Portsmouth 0.