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Match Reports

Report | Oxford United 2-1 Dale

28 April 2018

Rochdale fell to a 2-1 defeat away at Oxford United on the penultimate weekend of the season, after the hosts twice netted from the spot to come from behind.

Dale took the lead shortly before the hour through Bradden Inman, but the hosts’ John Mousinho struck from the spot three minutes later to draw the U’s level.

Todd Kane claimed the points late in the game for the hosts, also converting from 12-yards.  

Manager Keith Hill made three changes to the side that lined up against Plymouth Argyle midweek. Joe Rafferty, Jimmy McNulty and Joe Thompson returned to the starting eleven in place of Scott Wiseman, Mark Kitching and Stephen Humphrys.

Rochdale started the game brightly and had a few chances during the opening period.

With four minutes on the clock, Matty Done glanced a header across goal and wide of the target from a Bradden Inman corner. Moments later, and Inman struck an effort over the bar from the edge of the area.

Harrison McGahey spotted the unmarked Done out on the left and looked to pick him out with a cross field ball, but as the wing-back made the run through, the Oxford goalkeeper was quick off his line to smother.

Josh Lillis was called into action three times in quick succession as the hosts grew into the game, but all saves were arguably routine.

The Dale stopper got a hand to a low strike on the turn from Jon Obika, before he denied Wes Thomas, who’d driven at goal up the left and got a shot away, aiming for the bottom corner.

Some quick feet saw Joe Rothwell get into a dangerous position where he looked certain to go for goal, but an alert Lillis forced him wide and the Oxford player couldn’t keep the ball in play.

But is was Rochdale who had the best chance of the half on 25 minutes. An unmarked Calvin Andrew met a dangerous ball to the back post from Ollie Rathbone, only to be kept out by Eastwood, who pulled off a tremendous save to claw away the point-blank header which was destined for the back of the net.

Oxford were dangerous, though, and Dale had Lillis to thank eight minutes before the interval, when he kept out Obika on the line with his feet.


Opportunities were at a premium for either side during a relatively quiet opening to the second half.

Rochdale made the first change of the game on 55 minutes, when Matty Gillam replaced Joe Thompson, and Dale went on to open the scoring four minutes later.

Rathbone’s deflected shot fell to Inman who dropped his shoulder and slotted into the bottom corner of the net.

But the hosts were level three minutes later, converting from the penalty spot, after Callum Camps had tripped Rothwell inside the area.

John Mousinho fired his spot-kick into the roof of the net, leaving Lillis with no chance of a save.

Rochdale came close soon after, though, when Inman struck just inches wide of the post, but the penalty had killed any impetus that Dale had been building before they’d broken the deadlock.

The U’s went ahead in the 84th minute, netting for a second time from the spot, after Camps was adjudged to have taken down substitute Rob Hall. Todd Kane hit home into the bottom corner of the net from 12-yards.

A couple of minutes later, Dale managed a double change, with Steven Davies and Alex Dobre replacing Camps and Inman.  

But despite the changes, Rochdale were unable to find the goal to claim a point, and before the game was out, Ruffels, from the edge of the area, had an effort held by Lillis.


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