Rochdale’s pre-season friendly against Macclesfield Town had a definite pre-season feel about it.
The game at the Moss Rose, which ended goal-less, lacked a high a tempo, but it proved to be a good work-out for Keith Hill’s side, with the starting eleven all completing 90 minutes injury free.
Dale started the game well and arguably had the better of the first half.
With five minutes on the clock Tom Kennedy delivered a dangerous cross into the area, but despite both Lewis Alessandra and Calvin Andrew rising highest, they were unable to make a connection and the ball skipped out of play on the opposite side.
Three minutes later and double save from goalkeeper Ritchie Branagan kept Dale out.
Matty Lund powered a header at goal after getting on the end of a Reuben Noble-Lazarus corner, but he was denied by the quick reaction of the ‘keeper, who blocked his effort on the line with a hand. A follow up effort was sent wide of the target before being hooked away.
After the early opportunities, Dale enjoyed plenty of the ball, but despite probing, were unable to find a way past the home defence as clear cut opportunities were at a premium, in what was some-what a scrappy affair.
And it was the Silkmen who came closest to opening the scoring as the half progressed. In the 23 minute Johny Diba pulled off an excellent save to deny Jack Sampson, who sent a point black effort goalwards from just inside the area.
Shortly after the half hour mark Lund came close against from a Noble-Lazarus corner ball. This time he powered a diving header narrowly wide of the upright.
In the minutes leading towards the interval, both sides had half chances.
Danny Rowe muscled his way through towards the edge of the area, before unleashing an effort following his first sight on goal. It was over hit, though, and went well over the bar.
Moments later up the other end and sublime pass from Jamie Allen to Andrew split the Macclesfield defence. Andrew’s delivery was snatched out of the air by Branagan before it could reach its intended targets inside a busy box.
HT: MACCLESFIELD TOWN 0-0 ROCHDALE
There were no changes for Dale at the interval as Manager Keith Hill stuck to his word and opted to up the players’ game time. All eleven went on to complete 90 minutes.
The second half started off as a low tempo affair, with very little in the way of chances for either side as both defences stayed strong. And it was only during the final 20 minutes that the game seemed to spark into life.
Kennedy firstly saw an effort fly narrowly past the upright, before a Rafferty cross, which was intended for Andrew, was headed away before the forward could get on the end of it.
A minute later and a wicked deflection took a long range effort from Lund narrowly round the post.
In the 77th minute the home-side were denied by the woodwork. The Macclesfield trialist powered through one on one with Diba, before unleashing a dipping effort. His strike, which had beaten the ‘keeper, bounced off the bar and over.
It was one of less than a handful of times that the Silkmen had got the better of the defence and after surviving the scare, Dale continued their hunt for a goal as Andrew firstly had a volley blocked and hooked away, before having a cross-come-shot blocked at source on the edge of the area.
In the dying seconds of the game, Diba pulled of a magnificent save to deny a Macclesfield Town trialist, pushing the effort round the upright.
The resulting corner, which Dale dealt with, was the last of the action.
It finished Macclesfield Town 0, Rochdale 0.
DALE XI: Diba, Rafferty, Lancashire, McNulty, Kennedy, Lund, Camps, Allen, Noble-Lazarus, Alessandra, Andrew. Subs: Bell, Schorah, Smally, Gillam.