Goals from James Hooper, Harry Pratt and Dom Reid saw Rochdale's Youth team run out 3-2 winners over Accrington Stanley in a thrilling affair at Stainton Park.
The Rochdale team lined up as Lovett; Akinwale-Samuels; Schorah; Hooper; Sinclair; Cowan-Thompson; Smalley; Berry; Pratt; Reid and Stewart.
Rochdale opened the game the brightest of the two sides forcing two early chances - first for Dom Reid and then Harry Pratt. Reid was able to race onto a ball over the top, and after winning his foot race with the Accrington goalkeeper, attempted to lob it into the goal but he couldn't get enough on the ball to see it over the keeper. Pratt saw his chance after Accrington failed to clear their lines from a free kick but his effort rolled tamely along the ground towards the goalkeeper.
But it was Accrington who opened the scoring in the eleventh minute after a driving run down the right-hand side. The winger showed too much pace for the Rochdale defence and was able to get to the by-line and into the box. From here he cut the ball back to his man waiting on the edge of the six yard box to lash the ball past Lovett in the Rochdale goal.
Ten minutes later and it was all square after a superb strike from James Hooper. After some good work down the right hand side of the pitch, Accrington couldn't clear their lines and the ball eventually fell to Hooper on the edge of the area. He had time to set himself before unleashing a fierce, left-footed drive which dipped into the far top corner.
On the half hour mark, Accrington went back into the the lead following another wide move, this time from the left wing. After the ball was worked to the man on the left, he had space to clip a ball into the area which found a red shirt in the middle. He was able to direct the ball across goal and into the bottom corner on the half volley.
Dale continued to come back however, and Tyler Berry perhaps deserved more for his battling efforts in the centre of the park. After fighting off three tackles through the middle, he found himself with the space to get his shot away. It was charged down however, and the sting was taken off his shot as he saw it deflect comfortably into the goalkeepers midriff.
HALF TIME: Rochdale 1-2 Accrington Stanley
Rochdale came out of the blocks very quickly in the second half and were rewarded with a goal in the 49th minute. As the ball was played over the top, Harry Pratt won his aerial battle on the angle of the box and brought the ball under control. With plenty of space inside the box, he was able to pick his spot and beat the goalkeeper at his near post with the outside of his left boot.
Rochdale asserted control of the game in the midfield, holding the majority of possession but were struggling to convert this into more chances. They were finding most of their luck over the top, as Dom Reid was this time able to outmuscle his defender inside the box and bring the ball down. Surrounded by a couple of defenders he twisted and turned to make space, but when he finally found the space to pick a shot, it was tamely into the goalkeepers arms.
As the half wore on, Dale started creating a flurry of chances and looked the most likely to find a winner. A deep cross from the right found the head of Pratt who had climbed highest but as the ball appeared to be dropping into the goal, the Accrington keeper stuck an arm up and tipped the ball over his crossbar.
One minute later and a corner from the left found the head of Abayomi Akinwale-Samuels but after making a late run, he couldn't direct his header towards goal.
With five minutes of the ninety remaining, Rochdale took the lead for the first time in the game through Dom Reid. The ball found its way to the feet of Jack Stewart on the right who drilled the ball across the six yard box. As the goalkeeper stretched to Palm the ball away, he could only do so into the chest of Reid, from where the ball dribbled over the line and into the net. There was much deliberation before the goal was given, though, with the referee involved in discussions with both linesman as to whether or not a hand may have been used.
With no time remaining, Accrington thought that they had rescued a point after the ball ricocheted around the Rochdale box before finding its way into the goal. After another good move down the right side of the pitch, Accrington were able to work the ball into the box, from which Rochdale struggled to clear. Eventually the ball fell to a red shirt who lashed a shot toward goal, which took a deflection off another Stanley player before finding its way into the net. The linesman came to the rescue of Rochdale however, deeming this final touch to have been made by a player in an offside position, and raising his flag.
FULL TIME: Rochdale 3-2 Accrington Stanley