Rochdale earned a point from their EFL Trophy Group stage tie against Manchester United U21s on Tuesday evening, in a highly entertaining encounter between the two sides at the Crown Oil Arena.
It was end to end at times during the first half, although Rochdale carved out the better of the opportunities.
Joe Hugill hit an effort wide of the near post for the visitors, before cushioning a volley over the cross bar from ten yards, but it was Dale that forced the first save of the game on 9 minutes. Matty Lund met Matty Done’s cross at the back post and was kept out by Ondrej Mastny.
Four minutes later and Rochdale were in on goal again. This time Lund squared for Stephen Dooley, who was denied by a fine save.
Straight up the other end and Jay Lynch in the Dale goal was called into action, denying Hugill from close range.
Aaron Morley, wearing the Captain’s armband, came within inches of breaking the deadlock, when he fired a powerful effort wide of the post from 30-yards.
Before the break, Jimmy Keohane lofted a great ball into the box and Harrison Hopper, who slid in to get on the end of it, turned it agonisingly over the bar.
Luca Ercolani fired a low effort just past the far post, before Ethan Brierley drew the last save of the half. The young Dale midfielder struck goal wards from 25-yards, forcing Mastny to tip the dangerous shot round the upright.
HT | ROCHDALE 0-0 MANCHESTER UNITED U21s
Six minutes after the restart, Rochdale were awarded a penalty after Hopper was upended in the area.
Morley took the resulting spot-kick but was superbly kept out by the United goalkeeper, who saved low to his right. He was also kept out on the rebound.
Keohane sent an effort wide shortly before a double change took place on the hour mark, when Ollie Rathbone and Alex Newby replaced Lund and Beesley, respectfully.
Substitute Rathbone very nearly broke the deadlock soon after his introduction but he was denied by the woodwork. Keohane had a low shot saved and he struck the post with the follow up.
Dale’s third final substitution came in the 82nd, as Academy scholar Kacper Mialkowski replaced Brierley to make his debut.
Sixty seconds after the change, Dale hit the visitors on the counter-attack and Newby struck inches wide.
Neither side could find a breakthrough, and with the game level at full-time, it went straight to penalties for a bonus point, which United claimed with a 5-4 shoot-out win.