A Scott Hogan hat-trick secured an important three points for Rochdale on Saturday as Dale recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over promotion rivals Oxford United at Spotland.
Hogan gave Dale a half time lead after opening the scoring shortly before the interval. The 21-year-old doubled Rochdale’s advantage four minutes after the re-start, before adding his third with 62 minutes played.
There was one enforced change to the starting eleven as the injured Matty Lund was replaced by Peter Vincenti.
Rochdale approached the game in a high tempo manner and were on the front foot during much of the opening exchanges.
Dale employed the same patient build up play, which has served Keith Hill’s side well so far this season, as they applied plenty of pressure on the visitors in a bid to crave an opening.
In the 9th minute Oxford United’s Michael Raynes was shown the first yellow card of the match following a late push on Scott Hogan, who had out done the defender and was through on goal. Ian Henderson curled the set piece into the area, and Hogan headed over the bar, in what was Dale’s first half chance of the game.
Four minutes later and Henderson tested Ryan Clarke from distance. His snap shot was sent straight down the throat of the ‘keeper, but it had enough power behind it to see the stopper spill the effort, before quickly collecting.
Oxford United had a golden opportunity of their own in the 22nd minute when John Mullins got on the end of a cross to the back post. Mullins was just two yards from goal, but scuffed his shot and the effort went across the face of goal and out of play.
It was an entertaining encounter and Dale looked comfortable as they played their usual played fast, flowing football, and in the 40th minute they were denied on the line by Jake Wright. Some great link up play from Rochdale had seen the ball eventually sent out to Matty Done on the left hand side. He drilled an on target shot, which has beaten ‘keeper Ryan Clarke, but Wright was there to clear off the line, albeit smashing it off his own cross bar and out for a corner.
Dale were beginning to turn the screw and shortly before the interval Rochdale opened the scoring. Jamie Allen lifted the ball into the area, and Peter Vincenti’s header was poked over the line by Scott Hogan to give the home side an important half time lead.
HT: Rochdale 1-0 Oxford United
There were no changes for Dale at the interval as Manager Keith Hill stayed as was for the start of the second half.
Rochdale started the half brightly and doubled their advantage just four minutes after the re-start.
Hogan ran at the Oxford backline, before taking the ball past them and sending an effort goal wards. His initial shot was blocked by the legs of Clarke, but he made no mistake as he slammed the follow up past the ‘keeper.
GOAL: Rochdale 1-0 Oxford United (Hogan, 49 mins)
Momentum continued with Rochdale and four minutes later Vincenti fired a low drive from distance past the upright.
There was a short delay in play as both Jack O’Connell and Peter Vincenti required treatment following a clash of heads. O’Connell was able to get to back to his feet, while Vincenti required the vaseline to stem the blood from the cut on the top of his head, before continuing.
During the stoppage the visitors made their first substitution of the match as Dave Kitson replaced Ryan Williams in the 58th minute.
Oxford United won a corner shortly after play had resumed and Danny Rose volleyed an effort narrowly over the bar from the set piece, earning their first shot on goal of the half.
Despite the chance for the U’s it was Dale who continued to look the most likely to add to their tally, and with 62 minutes on the clock Hogan netted Rochdale’s third of the afternoon, securing his second hat-trick of the season.
The goal had come from a Rochdale throw in, which had bounced awkwardly and was missed by an Oxford defender. Hogan was quickest to react and he scuffed a shot over the line.
GOAL: Rochdale 3-0 Oxford United (Hogan 62 minutes)
Dale continued to employ their attacking football, as they took full control of the game.
And after Hogan’s goal it was Rochdale who had the next opportunity of the match, as Clarke denied Done with his legs inside the six yard box.
In the 84th minute Hogan almost netted his fourth of the game, but he was kept out by Clarke, who saved low at his near post.
It was the last action of the half for Hogan as he went off to a standing ovation and was replaced by George Donnelly.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added following the earlier delay in play due to the clash of heads, and during the final moments of the game Donnelly forced Clarke into a save at his near post.
It finished Rochdale 3, Oxford United 0.