Rochdale came from behind to secure three valuable points in a dramatic 3-1 win over Shrewsbury Town on Good Friday.
The visitors to the Crown Oil Arena went a goal ahead early in the game, but Ollie Rathbone drew Dale level deep in added time at the end of the first half. Steven Davies put Rochdale 2-1 up with an overhead kick just three minutes after coming on as a second half substitute, and after the Shrews had a penalty decision overturned in stoppage time, Captain Ian Henderson made sure of the points in a break away move.
Manager Keith Hill made two changes to the side that lined-up against Scunthorpe United last weekend.
Kgosi Ntlhe started in place of Sam Hart, while Stephen Humphrys came in for Bradden Inman.
Rochdale had the first opportunity of the game early on, when Jim McNulty headed over the bar from a Callum Camps free-kick, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring with eight minutes on the clock thanks to Nathan Thomas.
After turning Harrison McGahey, the Shrews player drove at goal, before breaking into the area and finishing across Josh Lillis and low into the bottom corner of the net.
A 12-minute stoppage in playe followed, after Aristote Nsiala clashed heads with Stephen Humphrys and was forced off on a stretcher.
Bradden Inman replaced Kgosi Ntlhe in the 40th minute, as Dale went to a four at the back, and sixty seconds after his introduction, Camps struck an effort wide of the upright from 20-yards.
In stoppage time, Shaun Whalley curled an effort wide, but it was Rochdale who levelled the scoring before the half was out, when Rathbone found the bottom corner of Dean Henderson’s net from 30-yards to bag his first of the season.
HT | ROCHDALE 1-1 SHREWSBURY
Rochdale started the second half at pace and had two very good opportunities during the opening five minutes, and went on to dominate.
After leaving Henderson rooted to his spot, Camps could only look on as his lofted effort dropped just over the bar, while Inman hit a shot narrowly wide soon after. There were claims the Shrews goalkeeper managed get a hand to the effort to tip it round the post, but there was no corner given.
Dale were much improved on their first half showing and came close again in the 55th minute, when Andrew headed wide from an Inman corner.
The visitors’ Carlton Morris then saw his looping effort bounce off the bar on its way over, before Andrew curled an effort over from inside the area at the other end.
Rochdale, who were on the ascendancy, came forward again a minute later, when a great ball out to Inman sent him on his way up the left. He superbly went past him marker but could only strike into the side netting.
Henderson then denied Humphrys, when the on-loan Fulham forward struck a powerful effort at goal from the edge of the area. Destined for the bottom corner of the net, the Shrews ‘keeper got a strong hand to the shot to turn it round the upright.
From the corner, Humphrys went down inside the area after a possible clash of heads, and left the pitch with a cut to the eyebrow area, to be replaced by Steven Davies.
And the forward had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes when he gave Dale a deserved lead. A Camps set-piece was clipped to the back post where it was won by Andrew, who headed it down for Davies. After taking it down on his chest, Davies beat Henderson with an overhead kick.
The Shrews’ Nolan saw a rasping effort clip the bar as the game entered its closing stages, but it was during injury time where it looked like Dale could be punished. The referee controversially awarded the visitors a penalty only to overrule the decision after communicating with his linesman.
A corner was awarded instead of penalty, and from that passage of play, Inman spotted that the Shrewsbury goalkeeper had committed himself forward, and he struck the ball up the pitch for Dale’s Henderson to race onto, and the Dale skipper beat his namesake for pace to put the game out of sight.
FT | ROCHDALE 3-1 SHREWSBURY TOWN