The Youth Team finished 2017 with a win, after recording a comfortable 2-0 victory over Blackpool at Bower Fold.
Joe Renner opened the scoring shortly before the half hour, bundling home from an Aaron Morley corner, and he assisted Rochdale’s second of the afternoon 10 minutes from time, when his effort was crashed over the line by Fabio Tavares from close range.
A dominate Dale started brightly and set the tempo of game from kick-off. They should have been ahead within the opening two minutes, however, Tavares squandered the opportunity when through one-on-one with Craig Thordarson, hitting wide of the target.
Morley had a long-range effort blocked, before James Neild twice headed narrowly wide of the upright from two corners.
Rochdale were asking all the questions and the well-deserved break through came on 29 minutes. Morley’s corner to the back post was knocked down into a packed six-yard box, and as a scramble ensued, Renner prodded home from close range.
Dale continued on the ascendancy, thwarting any attempted Blackpool attack, and the half came to an end when Morley had a shot blocked.
HT: ROCHDALE 1-0 BLACKPOOL
Rochdale started the second half in the same manner as they’d performed in the first, and they had an appeal for a penalty turned down just four minutes after the break, when Luke Matheson was pushed over inside the area.
Soon after, the unmarked Neil Kuemo had the chance to double Dale’s advantage when Lewis Bradley delivered across goal and found him at the far post, but he took too much time on the ball and the ‘keeper snuffed him out.
Brad Wade was then called into action, as Blackpool had a rare shot on target, but the Rochdale goalkeeper pulled off an excellent save to send Owen Watkinson’s effort from distance round the upright.
Thordarson and a Seasiders defender combined to deny Bradley just before the hour when he skipped into the six-yard box, while Renner turned the ball just wide after making a run to latch onto the end of a low Morley free-kick.
Nathaniel Appiah then struck a long-range effort into the hands of the Blackpool goalkeeper, before Kuemo flashed a ball across goal for Bradley who was unable to make a connection as he came racing in.
Dale’s first substitution of the game soon followed – Harrison Hopper replacing Louis White in the 76th minute.
And Rochdale’s second goal of the afternoon came three minutes later. Renner had the Blackpool goalkeeper beaten after getting on the end of a Morley free-kick, but Tavares made sure it crossed the line, smashing home from close range.
An enforced substitution came five minutes from time, with Juwan Hamzat replacing Matheson, whose game was cut short due to an off the ball challenge.
The game came to a close soon after a frustrated Rowan Roache – Blackpool midfielder - struck high over the bar on 90 minutes.
FT: ROCHDALE 2-0 BLACKPOOL