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Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Rochdale: Report

11 April 2015


Rochdale came from a goal down to earn a deserved point against Doncaster Rovers and keep dreams of a League One play-off finish alive.


Kyle Bennett fired Rovers into the lead on 17 minutes, before Ian Henderson equalised for Dale shortly before the hour-mark.


The result leaves Dale, who still hold a game in-hand over most of their league rivals, four points from the top six.


Manager Keith Hill made two changes to the eleven who lined up against Port Vale on Easter Monday. Jamie Allen made his first start since picking up a head injury against Oldham Athletic, while Joel Logan replaced Reuben Noble-Lazarus on the wing.


Hill’s men started brightly and were denied a penalty shout in the opening minute when Joe Rafferty skipped into the box before being brought down, but referee Gavin Ward waved for play to resume.  


Moments later, Peter Vincenti bolted into the box and worked himself into a threatening position, but his powerless shot was forced out by Jamie McCombe for a throw.


Rochdale continued to pile on the pressure and on the 10 minute mark, an Ian Henderson effort went narrowly wide after the top goalscorer headed Michael Rose’s delivery from just outside of the area.


Rovers looked rather quiet in comparison in the opening 15 minutes but they took the lead through Kyle Bennett – and in dramatic fashion.


Reece Wabara found Bennett, who stabbed the ball in the net, and while the Doncaster frontman was wheeling away in celebration, the linesman had his flag raised.


But after deliberation from referee Ward and his assistant, a goal was given to the delight of the home crowd.


Rochdale continued to battle and after Rose tested Stephen Bywater with an effort from outside the area, Dale had the ball in the net themselves on 23 minutes – only for their effort to be ruled offside.


Some great composure from Jamie Allen on his return from injury saw the 20-year-old collect the ball before unleashing a shot that goalkeeper Bywater could only parry away, allowing Henderson to pounce on the rebound and fire into the roof of the net – but the flag was raised for offside.


Doncaster then started to assert their hold on the game and after a series of skirmishes in Dale’s area, giant defender McCombe pulled off an overhead kick that was deflected out for a corner, while Bennett fired narrowly wide from 20 yards moments before the half-time whistle.


After the break, Paul Dickov’s side twice went close in quick succession through Curtis Main and Nathan Tyson, but as Donny looked to be turning up the pressure, Dale hit back with an equaliser through Henderson on 59 minutes – with the frontman notching his 19th goal of the campaign.  


The hot-shot then had a chance to double his tally moments after netting when he raced through on goal and tried to chip Bywater, but the Rovers keeper was able to rise and collect the ball.


On 67 minutes, Hill introduced super-sub Calvin Andrew into the mix and the striker nearly opened the scoring with his first touch, only for Bywater to remain alert and force his effort out of play.


From the resulting corner, Rose found Vincenti in the area who smashed the post from the centre of the box.  


While Andrew has been renowned for his goalscoring exploits from inside the box this season, he showed great defensive instinct to clear a loose ball from danger after Jamie Jones spilled Jonson Clarke-Harris’ effort.  


Putting Donny on the back foot, Dale continued to press with a spring in their step and were unlucky not to take the lead on 70 minutes as Rhys Bennett’s effort from close range was superbly tipped away by Bywater.


The tempo of the game decreased in the final 20 minutes but Dale went close on 87 minutes when Vincenti headed narrowly over the bar from an Andrew cross, before the man from Jersey fired over the bar in injury time.


ROCHDALE: Jones, Rafferty (Camps ’54), Bennett, Eastham, Vincenti, Allen, Rose, Logan (Andrew ’67), Cannon, Kennedy, Henderson (c) SUBS NOT USED: Lillis, Brandy, Noble-Lazarus, Hery, Bunney.


REPORT BY SIMON ROWBOTHAM


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