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Match Reports

Report | Dale 0-2 Fleetwood Town

20 March 2018

Two second-half goals saw Dale defeated 2-0 by Fleetwood Town at the Crown Oil Arena.

Dale had the better of the chances in the opening period, but fell behind shortly after the hour mark when Paddy Madden nodded home.

As Dale pushed on looking for an equaliser, the visitors struck on the break through Jordy Hiwula, securing all three points for Dale’s relegation rivals.

Billy Knott made his first Dale start, replacing Bradden Inman in the only change from Saturday’s game against AFC Wimbledon.

Dale edged a relatively quiet opening period, as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances.

It was Keith Hill’s men looking the more likely though, as Scott Wiseman had a turn and shot blocked, whilst Stephen Humphrys drove an effort over shortly afterwards.

The striker then showed quick feet to put Nathan Pond on his backside before having a shot deflected into the arms of the goalkeeper, whilst another deflection from a Wiseman cross took the ball just behind Matty Done at the back-post.

Ryan Delaney had Dale’s best chance before the break, when Andy Cannon got a flick on Callum Camps’ free-kick taking it straight into the defender’s path, but he turned over on the slide.

Humphrys sent a powerful shot well clear of the crossbar, before Paddy Madden’s ambitious 40-yard effort ensured the visitors mustered a shot at goal on the stroke of half-time.

There was a lengthy stoppage after the break when Cannon received a knock to the head and required a stretcher to leave the field. He was replaced by Mark Kitching.

Fleetwood had the impetus after the restart, and Josh Lillis had to make a low save to his left to deny an Ashley Eastham header from point blank range, before beating the ball away before Conor McAleny could follow up.

However, a minute later and the visitors broke the deadlock. Kyle Dempsey’s run forward led to him having a shot saved, but Madden got in front of Harrison McGahey on the follow up to nod home.

Hill responded with a double substitution, as Alex Dobre and Bradden Inman replaced Delaney and Knott with 20 minutes remaining.

Dobre saw a shot sail over before he and Inman had shot blocked in quick succession, with Ian Henderson also curling over as Dale searched for an equaliser.

The visitors rebuffed a number of Dale attacks in the final ten minutes, and with Hill’s side throwing men forward, the Cod Army struck on the counter attack.

Substitute Bobby Grant held the ball well in the Dale half and released fellow substitute Hiwula, who calmly finished beyond Lillis to the far post.

Henderson headed over a Dobre cross before Dobre himself fired over after a promising run, but Dale couldn’t find a goal to set up a grandstand finish.

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