Rochdale welcomed Manchester City U21s to the Crown Oil Arena on Wednesday night, in their opening Leasing.com Trophy group stage tie of the season.
City emerged victorious, recording a 2-0 victory.
Manager Brian Barry-Murphy fielded a relatively young Dale side for the match, which saw four players make their debut, including Peter Thomas, who became Rochdale’s youngest ever debutant. At 15 years and 22 days, the young forward replaced Luke Matheson (15 years and 336 days) as the record holder.
The home side looked to cause problems for City’s youngsters early on. Academy graduate Fabio Tavares, making his debut for Rochdale, was a handful and his tricky wing-play opened up a chance for Ollie Rathbone, whose shot at goal was blocked.
Jayden Braaf proved a thorn in Dale’s side all evening but his driven effort from outside the area was simple enough for ‘keeper Jay Lynch though, who saved well on 20 minutes.
Soon after, Jim McNulty’s pass ricocheted against a City player, allowing the Dutchman Braaf to break through on goal, but after slotting under Lynch, the right post ensured the score remained goalless.
But that wasn’t the case for much longer, as Braaf put the visiting side ahead on 32 minutes. Receiving the ball inside the area, he struck across goal and his effort went in off the post.
Chances fell for Jimmy Ryan and Calvin Andrew, as Dale tried to force through an equaliser. Ryan’s long-range effort rose over the bar, whilst Andrew struck sweetly at City stopper Daniel Grimshaw, forcing a good save just before the break.
HT | Rochdale 0-1 Manchester City
The visitors doubled their lead on 58 minutes. Adrian Bernabe picked up a pass into the area and was able to slot the ball under Lynch.
Ryan came the closest for Dale in the second-half, with a thunderous strike from range stinging the palms of Grimshaw, who covered well to maintain the clean sheet.
Barry-Murphy awarded appearances from the bench to Harrison Hopper, who got his first taste of action since a pre-season injury that had kept him sidelined, and the aforementioned Thomas, who became Rochdale’s youngest ever debutant.
Rochdale: Lynch, McNulty, Andrew (Thomas 85’), Keohane (Gillam 75’), Rathbone (C) (Hopper 75’), Ryan, Morley, Bradley, Tavares, Matheson, Phillips. Subs: Sanchez, Dooley, Williams, Clarkson.
Attendance: 1172 (114 Away)