Team spirit, hard-work and endeavour are just three ways to sum up the excellent display by ten man Dale in Saturday’s dramatic 3-2 win over Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium.
Dale had taken the lead after just four minutes, however, the home side drew level less than ten minutes later.
Rochdale were reduced to ten men shortly before the half hour mark, with Leyton Orient harshly being awarded a penalty from the same decision. Conrad Logan saved from the spot.
The O’s went on to net shortly before the interval, taking a lead into the break. Peter Vincenti got Dale back on level terms two minutes after the re-start, and Done secured three points for Keith Hill’s side as he fired home in the 65th minute.
There was one change to the eleven who lined up against Coventry City last weekend, with Rhys Bennett replacing the suspended Joe Rafferty.
The match started at a high tempo, with both teams playing fast attacking football, resulting in two goals inside the first quarter of an hour.
Dale took the lead after just four minutes, with the first opportunity of the game. Matty Done travelled at pace up the right hand side of play, before unleashing an excellent left footed effort from the edge of the area.
GOAL: LEYTON ORIENT 0-1 ROCHDALE (Done, 4 mins)
Four minutes later Dale came agonisingly close to doubling their tally, as Ian Henderson beat the offside trap and the goalkeeper, after latching onto a through ball from Vincenti. His effort was just a whisker wide of the upright.
The home side drew level in the thirteenth minute through Jobi McAnuff, who fired a powerful effort from the edge of the area into the top corner of the net.
GOAL: LEYTON ORIENT 1-1 ROCHDALE (McAnuff, 13 mins)
The game had already been lively, but it fired up a notch shortly before the half hour as Ashley Eastham harshly received a straight red card and Leyton Orient were awarded a spot kick, despite the alleged foul taking place outside of the area.
Former Daley Chris Dagnall stepped up to take the resulting penalty and was kept out by Conrad Logan, who saved well.
With Rochdale down to ten men, Jamie Allen was sacrificed, with the midfielder making way for Olly Lancashire, who took Eastham’s place in the defence.
The game continued at a high intensity, and as Dale adapted to ten men, Leyton Orient piled on the pressure.
In the 34th minute they were awarded a free-kick on the six yard line after Logan handled a back pass. The O’s took the set-piece quickly and hit wide of the target.
And eight minutes later they took the lead. A diagonal ball to the back post was headed across goal by Darius Henderson for Romain Vincelot, who headed in at the near upright.
HT: Leyton Orient 2-1 Rochdale
Andy Cannon was handed his Rochdale debut as he replaced Bastien Hery at the interval.
The second half started at the same intensity as the first had finished, and ten man Dale levelled proceedings just two minutes after the break.
O’Connell tested ‘keeper Woods with a powerful effort from distance, and after being unable to keep a hold of the ball from the initial shot, he sent it into the path of Vincenti, who fired home from close range on the re-bound.
GOAL: Leyton Orient 2-2 Rochdale
With Dale level, Leyton Orient ramped up the pressure as they went in search of a third, and they did have opportunities to add to the score-line, most notably a screamer of a shot from Dean Cox, which went narrowly wide of the upright shortly after the hour mark.
Darius Henderson came close moments later, however, he was kept out by a finger-tip save from Logan. And it was from the resulting corner that Dale countered to regain the lead.
Dawson picked out the runner in Done with a long diagonal ball after Dale had dealt with the set piece, and the full back turned forward, who remained cool as you like, fired beyond Woods on the angle, from the edge of the area.
GOAL: LEYTON ORIENT 2-3 ROCHDALE (Done, 65 minutes)
Dale were defending excellently as a team as the game progressed, and in the 76th minute Hendo cleared an O’s effort from a corner off the line.
Debutant Cannon did not look out of place in the Rochdale side, and the confident looking youngster fizzed an effort just over the bar six minutes later.
Dale’s third and final substitution of the match soon followed as Done left the pitch to a standing ovation from the away fans. He was replaced by Joe Bunney.
Moments later, Bennett was left flattened on the ground as he blocked a powerful shot from distance. It epitomised the spirit and the character of the Dale side, who were giving their all to record a victory at the Matchroom Stadium.
Leyton Orient came close again with just two minutes of the 90 remaining, as a Scott Cuthbert header, which had beaten Logan, went inches wide of the post.
At the full time whistle, Keith Hill’s Barmy Army rung out from the 318 away fans, as Hill and every single one of the players went over the applaud the travelling support.
It finished Leyton Orient 2, Rochdale 3.