A stoppage time goal ended Rochdale’s eight game unbeaten league run on Wednesday night, as opponents Hartlepool United came from behind to win the match at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Josh Andrews had put Dale ahead on 55 minutes, before the hosts equalised ten minutes later through Mark Cullen. Mark Shelton won it for Pools at the death.
There was one change to the side that lined-up against Plymouth Argyle in the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday.
Rochdale enjoyed the majority of the possession during opening exchanges and, after a long-spell in control, Max Taylor played a ball over the top to Josh Andrews, who, after holding it up, laid it off to Abraham Odoh and he struck wide of the target.
Odoh was in again soon after, as he latched onto another ball forward but there was some good defending to prevent him getting his shot away. Jake Beesley then had a header from the edge of the area held, after getting on the end of another ball over the top.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Liam Kelly found Aaron Morley on the right and he lashed a first time effort across goal from an acute angle and narrowly wide of the far post.
Pools tested for the first time a minute later. Shelton’s goal-ward strike took a deflection off Mark Cullen, changing its direction, but Jay Lynch was still able to get behind it to hold.
Midway through the half there was some brilliant defending by Jeriel Dorsett to keep the score level. Luke Molyneux got onto a ball over the top and knocked it past Lynch, but the on loan defender got across to put in a great block before clearing the rebound off the line.
Ben Killip then pulled off two fine saves to keep Rochdale out. Beesley, after making a run into the area, pulled the ball back for Kelly who saw his effort denied by the Hartlepool ‘keeper. Killip then threw his body in the way of Andrews’ follow up, but an eventual offside flag went up against the Dale forward anyway.
Neither team could break the deadlock, despite having opportunities, and they went in level at the break.
HT | Hartlepool United 0-0 Rochdale
Seven minutes after the restart Eoghan O’Connell had a shot held after getting on the end of Morley’s corner to the back post.
And the pair were involved in the goal that broke the deadlock soon after. After the Rochdale Captain exchanged a one-two with Morley, the skipper then found Andrews inside the area and he took a touch before bending an effort beyond Killip and into the bottom corner.
After going ahead, Odoh had a couple of opportunities, as Dale looked to double their advantage. He firstly curled an effort narrowly over from 25-yards, before curling a shot wide of the target after showing brilliant pace to get up the left.
But it was Pools that equalised ten minutes after Rochdale had gone ahead. Cullen latched on to a ball over the top and struck into the far bottom corner.
A double substitution soon followed, with Matty Done and Danny Cashman replacing Aidy White and Odoh.
Dale were enjoying plenty of the ball and patiently trying to find an opening, but the hosts stood firm.
Andrews came agonisingly close to putting Rochdale back in front when he met Morley’s corner, but he headed over, with the ball skimming the top bar on its way past.
Three minutes from time, Molyneux tried to lift a shot up and over Lynch but Dale stopper gathered comfortably.
And the home side won it deep in stoppage time. A shot was deflected across the face of goal which fell for Shelton, who tapped home into an empty net.
FT | Hartlepool United 2-1 Rochdale