A youthful Rochdale side progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday following a deserved 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest at Spotland.
Peter Vincenti’s first half penalty saw Dale claim another Championship scalp to reach this stage of competition in consecutive seasons – the first time in the club’s history.
Youngsters Callum Camps and Joel Logan were handed starts as were Rhys Bennett and Scott Tanser, as Manager Keith Hill made four changes to the eleven who lined up against Fleetwood Town last weekend. Michael Rose and Bastien Hery dropped to the bench, while Ian Henderson was missing through illness. Jack O’Connell has now returned to his parent club.
The game started brightly, and with just twelve minutes on the clock, Dale were given the opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Joe Rafferty nicked the ball off Kelvin Wilson as the Forest defender dawdled inside his area, and the right back went clean through on goal, Wilson had no choice but to bring him down and give away the penalty. Vincenti confidently stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, fending off the goalkeeper's mind games and smashing the ball down the middle to give Dale the lead.
Two minutes later and Rochdale could have doubled their advantage as they hit the visitors on the break. Matty Done and Callum Camps combined well down the left hand side before Camps clipped a ball across the box towards Vincenti. His ball found the run perfectly, but the Jersey man could only skew his effort wide of the upright.
On the half hour mark, there was an extended stoppage in play after Josh Lillis and Olly Lancashire collided heads whilst attempting to deal with a dangerous ball. The pair both dropped to ground, but after lengthy treatment, both players were deemed fit to continue.
As the half drew towards its conclusion, Dale were gifted several chances as Forest took risks at the back. With almost a carbon copy of the penalty incident, Matty Done stole the ball from Lichaj on the left of the box and broke into the area. As he rounded the goalkeeper he lost his balance and forced to lay the ball off to Allen who, under pressure from the defender, got the ball stuck under his feet and was muscled out.
Next it was the ‘keeper Dorus De Vries who took too long on the ball and panicked as Done came storming at him. His hurried clearance struck Done, leading to the ball looping narrowly over the cross bar.
HALF TIME: Rochdale 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Forest were fastest out of the blocks in the second half creating a couple of very good opportunities for themselves. Their first came after the ball was worked out to the right wing from a deep free kick and an excellent ball was whipped into the area. It found the head of Velwijk and his superb glancing header at the near post came within inches of finding the equaliser but ultimately drifted wide of the upright.
Britt Assombolonga was able to race onto a bouncing ball which found its way behind the Dale defence and he had the pace to stay clear. Through one on one with Josh Lillis he attempted to drive the ball underneath the Dale goalkeeper but Lillis stood strong to get all of his body behind the effort to keep it out.
Dale were looking to hold on to their advantage but they weren't without chances to double it. Scott Tanser was quick to pick up the ball on the halfway line before bursting into the Forest half. With runners ahead of him, he found Matty Done on the edge of the box who turned quickly before flashing a shot wide of the post.
Despite a late bombardment from Forest, the Dale defence remained resolute until the end.
FULL TIME: Rochdale 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Man of the Match: Rhys Bennett