Dale came out as 4-3 winners in a highly entertaining pre-season friendly at Spotland.
Dale scored twice in the first twelve minutes through Calvin Andrew and Lewis Alessandra, with Nakki Wells’ free-kick pulling one back for Town. Camps made it three for Dale on the half hour mark with a stunning strike before Sean Scannell halved the deficit again a minute later.
Camps cool finish restored Dale’s two goal lead at half-time, but only lasted three minutes into the second half as Wells got his second to make it 4-3, and that was the way it stayed.
Keith Hill changed the whole outfield from the victory over Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday, and switched to a 3-5-2 formation. Josh Lillis kept his place in goal, with a back three of Ashley Eastham, second year scholar Kisimba Kisimba and Brian Barry-Murphy. Joe Rafferty and Tom Kennedy operated as wing backs, with Michael Rose, Callum Camps and Reuben Noble-Lazarus in midfield, Rose being the deepest. Lewis Alessandra and Calvin Andrew were the two up top.
Dale started brightly in their changed set-up, passing the ball around with some good movement, and they got their reward just seven minutes in. Kennedy crossed from the left after a quick free-kick, towards Andrew who manoeuvred himself well with the ball behind him to turn a great header into the top corner of the net.
Keith Hill’s men were really on top and after Alessandra curled one just over the bar from 20 yards, he doubled Dale’s lead. Great build up play saw Andrew flick one round the corner for Camps, who took it in his stride and played a ball across for Alessandra to tap-in from a couple of yards out.
A perfect start for Dale who really hit the ground running in the 3-5-2 formation. However, Huddersfield clawed a goal back with a moment of quality from Wells. Rafferty brought down former Dale loanee Harry Bunn on the edge of the area, and Well stepped up to curl one into the top corner leaving Lillis stranded.
Andrew nearly doubled Dale’s lead again just a minute later with a shot straight at the keeper, before Camps did get a third with a wonder strike. He skipped between two Huddersfield midfielders before lashing one straight into the top corner from almost 30 yards. It was hit like an arrow and received the standing ovation it deserved from the Spotland faithful.
The visitors would half the deficit against a minute later through, when Wells sent in a cracking cross to the back post. Scannell slid in ahead of the Dale defence to send the ball past Lillis and into the roof of the net.
Rafferty, captain for the day, tried his luck with a left foot effort which found its way into the arms of Alex Smithies, before Joe Lolley’s jinking run ended with him shooting straight at Lillis.
Dale’s fourth of a thrilling first half came in the 38th minute and in fortuitous circumstances. Noble-Lazarus sent a diagonal ball over to Andrew, who pulled the ball back for Camps. As he attempted to poke it goalwards it ricocheted off Dean Whitehead and back into Camps’ path, who calmly slotted home under the goalkeeper.
The second half started in very much the same vain, with the visitors reducing Dale’s lead again three minutes in. Bunn played in Wells, who finished at the near post after a couple of turns.
Town almost levelled things four minutes later through Lolley, who dribbled past a few players again and dinked one over Lillis, which just bounced past the far post.
Rafferty joined the injury list as he hobbled off, to be replaced by James Hooper, as Dale shifted to four at the back with Kisimba going to right full back.
Donal McDermott replaced Noble-Lazarus in the 66th minute and went out to the right wing as Keith Hill looked to grapple the game back in his side’s favour after Huddersfield had bossed things since the interval.
Alessandra turned a ball across the face of goal after good work from the substitute McDermott, but it was just ahead of Andrew at the back post.
Alessandra was then replaced by Nyal Bell, and Camps came off for Jamie Allen, who got into the game straight feeding McDermott down the right. As Smithies came racing out the substitute tried to lift the ball over him, but the ball bounced past the far post, just ahead of Bell who was steaming in.
A couple of strong challenges sparked the game into life as Town pushed for an equaliser, and but for some fantastic defending they would have done with 11 minutes remaining. A ball through found its way to Wells, whose shot was well tipped onto the post by Lillis. The rebound came out to substitute Jordy Hiwula who looked certain to score, but for a superb sliding challenge by Kisimba to divert it over the crossbar.
That was the last meaningful action of the game as Dale beat Championship opposition for the second time in a week. They’ll travel to Accrington on Tuesday before welcoming MK Dons on Saturday.
Dale XI: Lillis, Rafferty (Captain), Eastham, Barry-Murphy, Kennedy, Kisimba, Rose, Noble-Lazarus, Camps, Alessandra, Andrew.
Subs: Collis, McNulty, Lancashire, Vincenti, McDermott, Tanser, Allen, Cannon, Bell, Hooper, Henderson.
Huddersfield XI: Smithies, Smith, Whitehead, Hudson (Captain), Scannell, Butterfield, Craine, Bunn, Lolley, Wells, Lynch.
Subs: Allinson, Hogg, Wallace, Hiwula, Dempsey, Hammill, Boyle.
REPORT BY GREG JONES