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Rochdale 3-3 Sheffield United: Report

4 March 2017

Rochdale twice came back from behind to secure a well-earned 3-3 draw against League One leaders Sheffield United.

The Blades ran into an early two goal advantage thanks to goals from Mark Duffy and Daniel Lafferty, but Steven Davies reduced to deficit to just one heading into half time.

Matthew Lund equalised two minutes into the second half, but the visitors retook the lead through Billy Sharp midway through the period.

Dale bounced back again though, and with 12 minutes left Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s coolly taken goal secured a point for Keith Hill’s side.

Hill named five changes from last Saturday’s defeat at Peterborough. Harrison McGahey, Oliver Rathbone and Andy Cannon stepped up from the subs bench, alongside Matthew Lund and Steven Davies who returned from injury lay-offs.

The visitors opened the scoring in the sixth minute when they were awarded an indirect free-kick inside the area, after Ben Wilson picked up a back pass from Lund. The free-kick was laid off to Duffy, who curled a first time effort into the far corner to break the deadlock.

The Blades doubled their lead just five minutes later in spectacular fashion. A free-kick was cleared as far as Lafferty 30 yards out, who unleashed a left foot effort which rifled into the top corner.

It was the perfect start for the league leaders, but Dale responded superbly and were the team on top for the remainder of the half.

McGahey headed a good chance over the crossbar after a corner had been swung in from the far side, and in the 20th minute Dale halved the deficit through former Blades man Steven Davies.

Lund received a lay-off from the right and crossed from deep to the far post, where Davies came sliding in, managing to turn the ball over the line in an unorthodox manner as he was on his knees.

Dale pushed forward looking to get themselves on level terms heading into half-time, but despite getting into promising positions they couldn’t create a clear cut chance.

The visitors had the only effort on target before the break, when Paul Coutts’ scuffed effort was plucked out of the air by Wilson.

Dale started the second half in the same vein as they had ended the first, and within two minutes they had equalised.

A cross from the right came all the way to Cannon on the left edge of the area, where he smashed the ball back into the danger area. Lund got ahead of his man at the near post, and finished clinically to level matters.

It was what Dale had deserved after fighting back from two goals down, although they were dealt a blow just before the hour mark when Keith Keane picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Reuben Noble-Lazarus.

Davies nodded a header wide the other side of the hour mark as Dale pushed to take the lead, but in the 69th minute it was the visitors who regained their advantage.

A cross from the left found its way to Sharp at the back post, who fired an effort back across goal where it couldn’t be kept out by a Dale defender on the line.

Peter Vincenti replaced Davies immediately after Sharp’s goal as Dale looked to equalise for a second time, and it was fellow substitute Noble-Lazarus who created Dale’s third of the afternoon.

He crossed from the left all the way to Mendez-Laing at the far post, where the Man of the Match dummied his way past two Blade’s defenders before finishing coolly to restore parity.

Another superb cross from Noble-Lazarus almost led to Dale taking the lead just two minutes later, but Ian Henderson’s header was kept out by a superb save from Simon Moore.

Duffy fired over and Lafferty forced Wilson into a stop as the Blades were restricted to efforts from distance with time running out, and Henderson’s run into the area was denied by a superb last ditch tackle as 
Dale searched for a memorable winner.

However, the sides couldn’t be separated and after two fantastic fight backs from Dale, they secured a deserved point against the league leaders.

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