A dominant Rochdale progressed to the Area Quarter Finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night with a well-deserved 2-1 win over Chesterfield.
In control through-out the game, Dale took a one-nil lead into the interval thanks to a Scott Tanser strike.
The visitors levelled the scoring in the second half against the run of the play, but Rochdale responded immediately through Lewis Alessandra to re-gain the lead.
Manager Keith Hill made five changes to the eleven that lined up against Bradford City on Saturday.
Ashley Eastham, Tanser, Matthew Lund, Alessandra and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing started ahead of Olly Lancashire, Tom Kennedy, Joe Rafferty, Jamie Allen and Calvin Andrew.
It was all Rochdale during the first half as they caused plenty of problems for the visitors, and they probably should have been more than a goal to the good at half time.
The Spireites were forced to defend through-out the half and failed to register a single shot on goal as Dale hit them with wave after wave of attack.
With Dale showing their attacking prowess, Alessandra had an effort deflected behind before Peter Vincenti, who was Captain for the night, rifled a shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area.
Rochdale continued to ask all the questions, and deservedly opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Tanser, who made a run into the area. The full-back unleashed a powerful effort, which was deflected beyond Tommy Lee.
Shortly after, Hill was forced to make his first substitution of the game as the injured Andy Cannon was replaced by Bennett. The change didn’t affect Dale and they continued in the same manner.
In the 24th minute Lund sent a dangerous ball to the back post, and as Lee came for it, he was beaten to the cross by Vincenti, who headed over.
Four minutes later and Vincenti picked out Alessandra with an excellent through ball, which split the Spireites defence. But as Alessandra attempted to get his shot away, he was closed down and had his effort blocked.
As the half continued, Dale had further opportunities to double their advantage as Vincenti hit over the bar and Camps dragged an effort wide of the upright.
HT: Rochdale 1-0 Chesterfield
Chesterfield made two changes at the interval as Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Jay O’Shea replaced Drew Talbot and Armand Gnanduillet, and while the visitors showed some dangerous flashes during the half, Dale remained comfortable.
Seven minutes after the re-start Mendez-Laing sent a powerful snap shot at Lee, who palmed the effort into the ground before collecting.
Sixty seconds later and Dale saw a glorious chance go begging. Alessandra’s pace caused problems for the goalkeeper as he beat Lee to the ball. With the ‘keeper grounded, Vincenti pounced on the loose ball, before playing in Alessandra, who was flagged for offside.
In the 54th minute Bennett, who was earlier introduced as first half substitute, was forced off through injury and replaced by Reuben Noble-Lazarus.
Shortly after the hour mark Mendez-Laing showed incredible pace as he powered into the area. He was denied at the near post by the legs of Lee.
And in the 65th minute the visitors equalised against the run of play as a cross into the near post was bundled over the line.
Chesterfield had levelled the game, but it was short-lived as Dale responded immediately.
McDermott’s initial effort was kept out by Lee, but Alessandra made no mistake as he fired into the back of the net to regain the lead.
As the half continued Rochdale had further chances, while the Spireites had a couple of opportunities, in what was a half dominated by Dale.
In the 73rd minute Lillis excellently punched clear an on target free-kick, which had been whipped into the area, before Dale again hit the Spireites at pace. On this occasion the under pressure McDermott sent an effort wide of the target.
As the game entered its final stages Mani Dieseruwe saw an effort flash narrowly wide of the upright, but it was Dale finished the tie with a flurry.
After hitting the visitors on the counter attack, Vincenti sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal for the outstretching Alessanda. Despite his determination, he was unable to get the decisive touch, which would take it beyond Lee.
And deep in stoppage time the goalkeeper pulled off two excellent saves in quick succession to deny Mendez-Laing and Vincenti.
FT: Rochdale 2-1 Chesterfield