Ethan Hamilton scored on his Rochdale debut to round off a spirited team performance against Peterborough United, but Dale lost 2-1 to the play-off hopefuls at the ABAX Stadium.
The home side took a lead into the break thanks to a Lee Tomlin strike. Having been denied by a string of fine saves, Keith Hill’s side then found themselves two goals to the disadvantage, as substitute George Cooper curled home in the 85th minute. Rochdale refused to give up and continued to put the Posh under the cosh during the remainder of the half and Hamilton netted in fine style, firing a rocket from 30-yards into the top corner of the net.
There were six changes to the side that lined-up against Manchester City U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night, including the introduction of loanee Hamilton who joined the club from Manchester United on Friday. He started along with Josh Lillis, Joe Rafferty, Ryan Delaney, Callum Camps and Ian Henderson, who all returned to the eleven.
During the opening exchanges, Peterborough’s Daniel Lafferty had a shot scrambled away, while Ian Henderson saw his effort across goal travel just wide of the far post. The Dale skipper had been played in by Rory Holden, who had linked up with Hamilton.
But it was the hosts who took the lead in the 23rd minute, when Lee Tomlin, on his return Posh league debut, curled into the bottom corner of the net from just inside the area.
Five minutes later, Lillis was forced to push a powerful Kyle Dempsey shot over the bar. He was also called into action shortly after the half hour, coming out to bravely chest away an awkward bouncing ball on the edge area which looked certain to be won by Ivan Toney, who was charging in on goal.
HT | PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1-0 ROCHDALE
Two changes were made for the start of the second half, as Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Calvin Andrew replaced MJ Williams and Delaney.
Rochdale had a couple of early chances. Holden clipped a cross-field ball out to Dooley, who hit a powerful effort just over the bar.
Callum Camps, meanwhile, made a run for a Joe Rafferty thrown-in and got into the area before hitting a half-volley just inches wide of the upright.
The Posh still posed an attacking threat, though, and Toney firstly struck an effort narrowly past the far post after the home side had hit Dale on the break, before heading down and past the same upright from a ball in from the right.
Maddison went on a mazy run and was denied by the inside of the post, and as the ball came back out, Callum Cooke struck just wide on the follow up.
On the hour, Henderson, after bringing down a ball from Dooley, turned and get a shot away but it dropped over the bar.
Bradden Inman replaced the Northern Irishman in the 78th minute and he had an immediate impact, forcing Chapman to tip a shot over the bar.
Soon after, Holden was flattened as he tried to attack a Rafferty ball into the area, and after there was no penalty given, Inman had an effort saved behind. From the resulting corner, Posh failed to fully clear the ball and Jimmy McNulty had a vicious volley from the edge of the area kept out by a one-handed save.
And it was a minute later that the home side doubled their advantage, Cooper curling a left-footed shot beyond Lillis from a Maddison pass.
Dale’s heads didn’t drop, though, and Hamilton deservedly halved the deficit in the 90th minute, firing into the top corner from 30-yards. A stunning finish to mark his debut.
Rochdale continued throwing everything at Peterborough in the final moments but couldn’t net the equaliser they full deserved.
FT | PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2-1 ROCHDALE