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Match Reports

Report: Dale 1-1 Blackburn Rovers (5-3 pens)

7 November 2017

Rochdale secured two points to all but ensure they finished top of Northern Group C, with a penalty shootout victory after a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers were reduced to ten men when Scott Wharton saw red for a high foot on Joe Bunney, but the visitors took the lead through Joe Nuttall shortly before the break.

Jordan Slew scored his first Dale goal to equalise in the second half, and although Dale couldn’t find a winner late on, a 5-3 penalty shootout victory sealed the bonus point on offer.

There was a third consecutive Checkatrade Trophy start for 16-year-old Daniel Adshead, who was one of five changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup victory over Bromley.

Niall Canavan, Jordan Slew, Jordan Williams and Joe Bunney also came into the starting eleven.

The first half got off to a slow start in terms of chances, with only headers from Canavan and Kgosi Ntlhe the efforts of note.

The game kicked into life just before the half hour mark, when Scott Wharton was shown a straight red card for a high foot on Bunney.

Slew produced a strong stop from Rovers goalkeeper Andrew Fisher, when he fired goalwards after Adshead had intercepted a loose ball and found the forward.

Rovers responded well to being reduced to ten men, and Nuttall headed a corner just wide of the far post.

He wouldn’t rue that missed chance though, when he broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. The striker latched on to a cross from the right side, and planted an effort into the back of the net from 12 yards out.

Dale had chances to level before the break, firstly through Ntlhe who fired over Williams’ flick on.

Williams was then clattered inside the area with the loose ball falling to Slew, who cushioned a half volley wide of the far post, before Bunney headed Ntlhe’s cross over.

Matty Done and Bradden Inman replaced Williams and Oliver Rathbone shortly after the break in a double substitution.

Joe Rafferty had a shot held after meeting Bunney’s left wing free-kick, whilst Nuttal fired wide of the near post and Ben Gladwin saw a free-kick from distance well held by Josh Lillis.

Canavan picked up a knock and was replaced by Matty Gillam with 20 minutes remaining, and two minutes later Dale grabbed an equaliser.

Harrison McGahey’s cross from the right was headed back across goal by Ntlhe, where Slew was alive to turn the ball home.

Dale went in search of a winning goal that would see them confirmed as Northern Group C winners, and Slew came the closest to doing just that when he flashed a shot just wide of the far post.

The game went to penalties to decide who gained the extra bonus point, and when Josh Lillis superbly saved Richie Smallwood’s penalty, Gillam and Bunney converted their penalties seal the two points.


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