A rampant Rochdale romped to a 4-0 win at Crawley Town on Saturday, securing a deserved victory in the first ever meeting between the two sides.
A first half goal from Matty Done saw Dale take a 1-0 lead into the interval, but after turning the screw in the second half, a double from Peter Vincenti and one from Calvin Andrew ensured Keith Hill’s side recorded all three points from their long trip to West Sussex.
And there was a welcome return to the squad for Captain Olly Lancashire, who appeared on the bench following his recovery from injury. There was one change to the eleven that lined up against Crewe Alexandra in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday evening as stand in skipper Ian Henderson returned to the side, replacing Shamir Fenelon, who was named as a substitute.
Rochdale started brightly, putting pressure on the Red Devils from the off, and deservedly took the lead with ten minutes on the clock.
In the first minute of the game, a lively Matty Done marched down the left hand side of play, before sending a ball across the face goal. Brian Jensen flapped at it, but there were no blue shirts there to guide it into the back of the net.
Sixty seconds later, Stephen Dawson fired an effort from 20 yards over the bar, before Scott Tanser picked out Vincenti, who in turn crossed for Hendo at the back post. He attempted a first time volley, similar to the goal he scored against Leeds United in last year’s FA Cup, however this time his effort was wide of the upright.
Dale continued to pressurise, and in the seventh minute had a penalty claim dismissed, despite Done being tripped inside the area.
A lively start to the game saw Crawley have their first opportunity on goal just a minute later through Lewis Young. He dragged a deflected effort wide of the target, earning a corner ball. Matt Harrold got on the end of the set-piece, heading into the side netting.
Rochdale had looked the most likely to score during the opening exchanges, though, and they went onto deservedly break the deadlock shortly after through an excellent strike from Done.
The new found forward curled his effort from the edge of the 18-yard box round Jensen and into the net.
GOAL: CRAWLEY TOWN 0-1 ROCHDALE (Done, 10 mins)
minute The Red Devils’ Harrold was denied by an equally brilliant save from Conrad Logan, who tipped the goal bound header up and over the bar.thIn the 18
The resulting corner was sent towards the back post, and after being headed down, Leacock could only blaze an effort from six yards over the bar.
Shortly after the half hour mark the home side were caught napping on a Dale throw in, allowing Hery to quickly fire a powerful effort past the upright from the edge of the area.
And a minute later Izale McLeod went down easily in the area, with the referee waving away appeals for a penalty.
Both teams had first half opportunities, but it was Dale who took the lead into the break.
HT: CRAWLEY TOWN 0-1 ROCHDALE
There were no changes for Rochdale at the interval.
Both teams started the second half brightly, but it was Keith Hill’s side who registered the first real opportunity on goal – Jensen denying Henderson at his near post. And it was a sign of things to come.
Four minutes later Dale doubled their advantage in another excellent move forward. Dawson found the run of Done, who, after getting into the area, pulled the ball back for Vincenti. The Jersey man coolly picked his spot, before slotting beyond Jensen at the post.
GOAL: CRAWLEY TOWN 0-2 ROCHDALE (Vincenti, 55 mins)
Dale’s first substitution of the match followed a minute later with Andrew replacing Hery.
Shortly after the change, Henderson, who had moved into a deeper midfield role, won the ball, before sending Done off and running on the break. He sent an effort goal wards, but was kept out by the finger-tips of Jensen, who had done enough to steer the ball away from the awaiting Andrew who had made a run to the post.
minute.thRochdale were confident as they went in search of a third, and they added to their tally in the 66
Andrew sent a ball out to Done, who was in the corner. He sent a cross into the area for Vincenti, who headed beyond Jensen.
GOAL: CRAWLEY TOWN: 0-3 ROCHDALE (66 mins)
And ten minutes later Dale extended the score-line further, with Andrew netting Dale’s fourth of the afternoon. Done was again the provider, with Andrew heading home.
GOAL: CRAWLEY TOWN: 0-4 ROCHDALE (76 mins)
The excellent Done was substituted shortly after, making way for Shamir Fenelon, and receiving applause from both the home and away support.
Rochdale had an opportunity to make it five with 83 minutes on the clock after a Dale corner was cleared as far as O’Connell, who picked out Bennett. However, Jensen was again on hand to parry the on target effort away from goal.
It finished Crawley Town 0-4 Rochdale