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Match Reports

Report | Dale 2-3 Fleetwood Town

26 December 2019

Dale suffered a late defeat at home to Fleetwood Town, losing 3-2 at the Crown Oil Arena.

A brace from Aaron Wilbraham had seen Dale take the lead twice, but they were pegged back by the visitors on both occasions who went on to claim all three points late on.

Stephen Dooley and Wilbraham both came into the starting eleven as Brian Barry-Murphy made two changes from Saturday’s game.

The first effort of the game fell to Jimmy Keohane who fired over from the left edge of the area, before the visitors were denied by some strong defensive blocks after a free-kick was whipped into the area from the left.

Matty Done saw a shot deflected away from danger and Harrion Biggins dragged a shot well wide from 25-yards.

Wilbraham broke the deadlock four minutes before the break when he met Dooley’s inswinging corner at the near post, nodding home despite the best efforts of Fleetwood stopper Billy Crellin.

Callum Camps fired narrowly over just before the break, whilst shortly after the interval, Ched Evans’ looping header came off the top of the crossbar.

The visitors equalised eight minutes after the break when Evans’ downward header was saved by Robert Sánchez, but Paddy Madden was on-hand to slam home the loose ball from close range.

However, less than seven minutes later, Wilbraham netted his second to put Dale in front. A cross from the right was headed up into the air by a Fleetwood defender, with Wilbraham latching on to it and finishing first time at the near post.

The lead lasted just five minutes when Kyle Dempsey’s shot took a big deflection past Sánchez at his near post to level matters for a second time.

Kwadwo Baah, on as a substitute, tested Crellin with a powerful effort from the corner of the area, forcing the goalkeeper into a fingertip save over the bar.

There was a long stoppage in play when Rhys Norrington-Davies came off worse in a 50-50 challenge with Crellin. The Dale loanee required a stretcher to leave the pitch after sustaining a facial injury.

The winning goal came a minute before the end of normal time, when Wes Burns fired home from close range after a lay off from a cross from the right.

Evans then forced Sánchez into a strong save with his feet, before Madden fired wide after a Fleetwood counter attack.

Dale pushed for a late equaliser but couldn’t find a route to goal, suffering defeat in the final home game of 2019.

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