Rochdale’s final pre-season friendly of the summer ended in defeat, as Port Vale secured a 2-1 victory at Vale Park, in a game where all three goals came from the penalty spot.
Tom Conlon netted both of Vale’s goals, while Aaron Morley was on target for Dale.
The match rounds off Rochdale’s 2020/21 pre-season friendly schedule, with Brian Barry-Murphy’s side having recorded wins over Atherton Collieries, Stockport County and Oldham Athletic in their previous outings.
The home side had the best of the early chances. David Fitzpatrick struck an effort over the bar from 25-yards, while David Worrall headed over at the far post after getting on the end of a Devante Rodney cross in from the left. A short time later, Leon Legge headed over from a Worrall free-kick.
Jimmy Keohane saw his powerful effort from just inside the area blocked at source in the 18th minute, starting a dominant 20-minute period in front of goal for Dale, during which Fabio Tavares was kept out on two occasions by Dino Visser.
Alex Newby broke forward across the half-way line before playing in Tavares, who got inside the area before trying to curl his effort into the bottom corner. The effort was tipped away by the ‘keeper who dived to his left.
A short time later, the Dale forward was again played through by Newby, but his goal bound shot was clawed away by Visser.
On the half hour, Keohane headed over from Newby’s cross to the back post, and Dale’s best chance of the first half followed. Jimmy Ryan’s initial diagonal pass was defended away as far as O’Connell who drove forward before picking out Done with a defence splitting pass. Done took it round the goalkeeper but his final effort was weak and his shot was cleared away off the line.
Rodney headed wide from a Worrall cross, before Newby drove to the edge of the area and had a shot well held by Visser.
On 41 minutes, Port Vale came within inches of opening the scoring. Theo Robinson waited at the back post for a dangerous ball in from the left, but it came bouncing off his knee and just wide of the upright.
But the Valiants broke the deadlock in stoppage time from the penalty spot. After Rodney was upended, Conlon took the resulting spot kick and sent Gavin Bazunu the wrong way to give the hosts a 1-0 lead to take into the break.
HT | PORT VALE 1-0 ROCHDALE
Having netted from the spot in the first half, Port Vale extended their lead in the same manner 11 minutes after the re-start, after Shaun Brisley was pulled down inside the box. Conlon doubled their advantage with his second of the afternoon, sending Bazunu the wrong way for a second time from 12-yards.
Soon after, there was a great save from Bazunu in the Dale goal, as he denied the Port Vale goalscorer his hattrick, keeping out the powerful long-range effort.
Ryan struck wide of the target in the 61st minute, and four Dale substitutions followed. Jay Lynch, Paul McShane, Aaron Morley and Kwadwo Baah replaced Bazunu, Eoghan O’Connell, Ryan and Done, respectively.
Four minutes after their introduction, Baah was fouled inside the area and Morley halved the deficit with a spot-kick, powering his penalty into the bottom corner.
Baah got in on goal again soon after, and saw his shot blocked by the legs of Visser.
Lynch pulled off an outstanding save in the 82nd minute to deny substitute David Amoo, whose powerful header was tipped onto the post, as the offside flag went up.
For the second time in the game, Dale had a shot cleared off the line late on. Newby’s effort, which looked destined for the far corner, was scrambled away by Luke Joyce.
FT | PORT VALE 2-1 ROCHDALE