A stoppage time own goal saw Rochdale succumb to a late defeat in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night, as Port Vale emerged as 1-0 victors from the group stage tie.
It looked like the game would head to penalties until the home side took the lead three minutes into added time in fortuitous circumstances.
There were nine changes to the side that lined-up against Bradford City at the weekend, as Manager Robbie Stockdale wielded wholesale changes for the match.
The first half was played out in terrible conditions, as strong, blustery winds and heavy rain battered Vale Park.
Rochdale came close to taking the lead five minutes into the game but were denied by the woodwork. After Conor Grant and Liam Kelly combined on the right, the latter delivered into the area and Jimmy Keohane saw his strike on the volley come crashing back off the post. The rebound fell to Alex Newby, who struck over the bar.
The Valiants had a couple of half-chances as the game progressed but good defending by Jim McNulty kept them at bay. He firstly turned a dangerous low ball into the area behind for a corner, before getting a block on George Lloyd’s powerful effort from inside the box.
Jay Lynch then had to be on hand to punch away Danny Amos’ awkward swirling strike from the edge of the area, after it got held up in the wind.
Ten minutes before the break, the home side were denied on the line by McNulty, as he made a goal saving clearance to keep out Mal Benning’s back post header.
Soon after, George Broadbent then latched onto a ball over the top and attempted to pull it back across goal at the byline, but Aidan Stone got down well to hold at his feet.
And in stoppage time Lloyd was through one-on-one with Lynch, but Aidan White got back to put in a last ditch tackle to dispossess him and the chance was gone.
HT | PORT VALE 0-0 ROCHDALE
Weather conditions eased for the the start of the second half, as the rain subsided, although the wind still proved problematic.
Three minutes after the restart Matty Done was in on goal, when Newby sent him through one-on-one with Stone, but after being pushed wide, the ‘keeper pulled off a strong save to divert his shot wide, once he got his shot away from a tight angle.
A minute later Done fired narrowly wide of the upright as he got in again.
Port Vale grew into the second half but still neither side could break the deadlock.
After substitute Lewis Cass delivered a low ball into the area from right, Lloyd came bundling in at pace to meet it but could only turn it wide.
Lynch then got behind Dennis Politic’s powerful free-kick from 25-yards to hold well.
Rochdale’s first substitution of the game followed in the 64th minute, as Corey O’Keeffe made way for Jeriel Dorsett.
The Valiants should have been ahead in the 73rd minute but they squandered the opportunity. After David Amoo got up the right, he delivered low across the face of goal but Benning, somehow, couldn’t turn it home from two-yards.
Three minutes later, Benning was denied by the post as he curled an effort from a corner off the far upright.
Either side of Benning hitting the post, Done was twice in on goal but there were two superb last ditch challenges to take the ball away from him before he could get his shot away.
In Dale’s second change, a short time later, Done made way for Danny Cashman, as the rain came down once more.
The on loan forward was involved immediately as he linked up with Kelly who sent him in on goal with a superb through ball. Cashman cut inside and into the area before dragging an effort narrowly wide of the target.
Sixty seconds later and he was in again, this time thanks to a ball over the top from Kelly. He was always stretching to bring it under control, though, and he could only strike into the side netting.
In stoppage time, Ethan Brierley replaced Broadbent, in the third and final substitution.
Right at the death, an own goal saw Dale go down to a defeat on the road. Cass’ ball into the area ricochetted off a Dale defender inside the six-yard box and rolled agonisingly over the line.
FT | PORT VALE 1-0 ROCHDALE