This season marks 50 years since Rochdale secured their first ever promotion. As part of a special Friday Flashback feature, we’ve delved into the archives to look at what happened on this week in the 1968/69 season...
Rochdale finished the month of February ninth in the division on 32 points, having notched up nine wins, 14 draws and six defeats so far in the campaign.
The month ended with a Monday night 2-0 victory over Darlington at Spotland, Dale’s first home game since January 18th due to a cold snap of weather that had gripped the area and taken its toll on fixtures.
Rochdale had been due to play on the Saturday, a couple of days before the Darlo fixture, and there was a huge team effort to clear the snow that had fallen, but in the end, it wasn’t the weather that put paid to their fixture against Halifax Town on Saturday 2nd February. The game was called off because the Shaymen only had eight fit players available to choose from.
With another home game just a couple of days away, more volunteers were called on to help prepare the ground for the Monday night game against Darlington. 70 volunteers turned up to help continue to clear the snow from the stands and the pitch and their efforts were rewarded, as the game against the North East side went ahead. Darlo visited Spotland as the only unbeaten away side in the whole of the Football League, but Rochdale made sure that crown was taken away with the 2-0 win in front of a crowd of 3815.
The then record signing Tony Buck, who joined the club the previous week, made his debut in the game. And with Buck’s arrival and talk of a possible promotion on the cards, The Rochdale Observer’s Geoff Whitworth reported that ‘at two periods in the game there was a suggestion that home nervousness would prove decisive’. However, he went on to say that ‘The scales were tipped by the team’s determination and drive, and the weights added by Reg Jenkins when he pounced on two scoring chances’.
Jenkins had given Dale a first half lead, finishing through a crowd of players after Norman Whitehead’s pull-back was parried out as far as the forward. And Jenkins put Rochdale 2-0 up with half an hour left to play. Dennis Butler had a shot blocked and Jenkins hit home on the rebound.
DALE XI | Harker, Smith, Parry, Ashworth, Ryder, Leech, Rudd, Whitehead, Buck, Jenkins, Butler.
When March arrived, Dale still had 17 games left to play before mid-May.
Having beaten Darlington on the Monday evening, Dale faced a trip to Scunthorpe United on the Saturday, March 1st – 50 years ago today.
It was another draw, 0-0, their 15th draw of the season, but it was another valuable point on the board and the result extended their unbeaten run to eight.
Colin Parry missed out with a poisoned leg, while Jenkins, who’d scored a brace on the Monday, had the flu. Scunthope’s line-up included a very young Kevin Keegan who had recently broken into the first team.
Geoff Whitworth of the Rochdale Observer wrote: ‘This was not, though, a defensive draw. Rochdale claimed more than half a share of the game’s attacking highlights and looked the side with the greater attacking menace, speed and invention.
'Unfortunately, they had a philanthrope outlook. When it came to shooting, there was not the control of the approach play or, for that matter, the determination to make the most of opportunities created as much by commitment as skill.’
DALE XI | Harker, Smith, Ratcliffe, Ashworth, Ryder, Leech, Rudd, Whitehead, Buck, Melling, Butler. Melledew was an unused sub.
Next up for Dale is a home game against Colchester United in a weeks’ time.
Saturday 10th August – Rochdale 3-2 Scunthorpe United
Saturday 17th August – Colchester United 0-0 Rochdale
Saturday 24th August – Rochdale 1-1 Exeter City
Monday 26th August – Brentford 1-1 Rochdale
Saturday 31st August – Port Vale 1-1 Rochdale
Saturday 7th September – Rochdale 1-1 Peterborough United
Saturday 14th September – Chesterfield 1-1 Rochdale
Tuesday 17th September – Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Rochdale
Saturday 21st September – Rochdale 6-0 Bradford City
Saturday 28th September – York City 0-0 Rochdale
Saturday 5th October – Rochdale 0-0 Workington
Monday 7th October – Rochdale 0-0 Brentford
Saturday 12th October – Darlington 0-0 Rochdale
Saturday 18th October – Rochdale 0-1 Swansea
Saturday 26th October – Southend United 1-3 Rochdale
Saturday 2nd November – Rochdale 6-0 Bradford Park Avenue
Monday 4th November – Rochdale 0-1 Newport County
Saturday 9th November – Aldershot 0-0 Rochdale
Saturday 23rd November – Wrexham 3-2 Rochdale
Saturday 30th November – Rochdale 0-0 Notts County
Saturday 7th December – Grimsby Town 2-0 Rochdale
Saturday 21st December – Swansea 3-0
Thursday 26th December (Boxing Day) – Workington 1-2 Rochdale
Saturday 4th January – Rochdale 6-1 Grimsby Town
Saturday 11th January – Bradford Park Avenue 1-4 Rochdale
Saturday 18th January – Rochdale 3-0 Aldershot
Saturday 1st February – Lincoln City 0-0 Rochdale
Monday 10th February – Newport County 1-1 Rochdale
Monday 24th February – Rochdale 2-0 Darlington
Saturday 1st March – Scunthorpe United 0-0 Rochdale