Dale continued an impressive start to 2020 with a 2-0 win over local neighbours Bolton Wanderers.
Luke Matheson’s impressive solo goal in the first half gave Dale an advantage going into the break.
Jimmy Ryan’s first goal for Rochdale confirmed victory in the 80thminute, moving Dale six points from the drop zone.
Both side’s had chances in the opening half hour. Callum Camps attempted a spectacular overhead kick inside the area, but couldn’t quite connect early on.
Former Rochdale loanee Ethan Hamilton proved a nuisance all afternoon, and showed his qualities early on as an acrobatic effort deflected just onto the post.
Jimmy Ryan’s driven effort was hit well on target, though ‘keeper Remi Matthews was able to hold firm.
It was Matheson’s first league goal which separated the sides at the break. A long ball up field was brought down by the young full-back – flicked past a defender and fired into the roof of the net from close range.
Bolton came out the traps showing real hunger at the stat of the second period.
Hamilton again came closest for the visitors, this time striking the crossbar with a well taken effort from outside the area.
Ian Henderson was able to take possession after a lapse in the Wanderers defender’s concentration, dinking an effort over the on-rushing Matthew but couldn’t quite finish on target on the hourmark.
As Bolton continued to apply pressure, it was Dale who were able to strike home to secure three points through Ryan. The midfielder received the ball on the edge of the area and fired goalward, deflecting into the goal for victory.