A goalless draw at home to Grimsby Town on Saturday was enough to ensure that Dale progressed into the knockout stages of the Youth Alliance Cup, after they finished top of their group on five points due to goal difference.
During the opening exchanges, the Mariners had the better of play with a few early half chances that were dealt with by ‘keeper Brad Kelly, to keep the game goalless before the momentum turned in Dale’s favour.
As the first half developed, Rochdale began to create numerous chances including an effort that was fired just wide of the net by Paul Kyfinn. Jordan Scanlon then had a shot well blocked after a great piece of play by Anisio Jesus who beat his man and found the early cross.
On the stroke of half time Kamoy McNair had a great chance but his close-range effort was inches away from opening the scoring.
In the second half, Dale picked up where they left off and continued to apply the pressure.
Kershaw split the defence with a great through ball to Darren Ehimamiego whose effort was deflected wide for a corner.
Numerous chances continued to fall for Rochdale and Kyfinn was denied by the Grimsby goalkeeper, who kept out his volley.
Despite the everlasting pressure and numerous chances, Dale couldn’t break the deadlock in the second half, but a point from the draw was enough to see the side progress into the knockout stages of the competition.
Dale XI | Kelly, Jesus, Sutton, Mialkowski, Laurence, Kershaw, Kyffin, Brierley, McNair, Scanlon, Ehimamiegho (73 Cunningham)
Subs | Blake, Dunlop, Dos Santos, Lawless