The Youth Team were beaten 6-5 on penalties and exited the Youth Alliance Cup Northern on Tuesday.
In a game where Dale were the better side, they found themselves having to come from behind twice to draw 2-2. They were then narrowly beaten on penalties 6-5.
Lee Thorpe’s side started the game brightly as Liam Anderson played in Darren Ehimamiegho, his shot was saved well by the legs of the Lincoln keeper.
Dale would continue their early pressure with Kevin Dos Santos this time the aggressor. He intercepted a loose pass from the Lincoln goalkeeper, he then found Ehimamiegho out on Dale’s right-hand side, who fired wide of the post.
It was all Rochdale in the opening stages, and it was much to their surprise when Lincoln took the lead. The visitors put together a well-constructed counter attack which resulted in Lincoln’s number seven putting the ball into the back of the net.
This wouldn’t phase Dale though as they continued to push forward with attacking efforts from Dos Santos, Paddy Watts and John Dunlop. Their attempts on goal were blocked and fired wide retrospectively.
Paul Kyffin’s corner on the half-hour mark looked to trouble Lincoln, although their goalkeeper got a strong fist to it and punched it away from danger.
Their best chance yet fell to Ehimamiegho. Jadel Yaduat carried the ball forward from deep inside Dale’s half, the ball eventually found Ehimamiegho, who’s shot was tipped onto the post brilliantly by the Lincoln keeper.
As the Youth Team continued to apply the pressure, it eventually paid off. Max Sutton’s cross from the left found Dos Santos, who headed the ball into the far corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.
The home side were forced into an early change as John Dunlop could not continue for Dale. Zak Greenwell came on in his place.
The sides went into half-time level at the break.
Dale would come out of the blocks once again after the interval. Yaduat this time creating problems, his shot was blocked by the Lincoln defender, but many of the Dale players felt like he used his hand to do so. The referee shook his head and play continued.
Like in the first-half, despite the dominant display that Dale were putting on, they found themselves behind again.
Lincoln’s number eight this time the goal scorer, firing in from distance. His shot dipped and found the bottom left corner, beating Ellis Craven.
Sutton continued to create all sorts of problems down Dale’s left-hand side, as he sent in another inviting cross. There was no one there to meet the ball initially. Greenwell recovered the ball and after a few deflections and pokes at the ball, it landed to Ehimamiegho, who scuffed his shot and sent it over the bar.
Dale’s second substitution would see Oscar Kelly replace Liam Anderson, and it wouldn’t take long for the Dale forward to get involved.
Kyffin’s free-kick was not dealt with by the Lincoln defence, resulting in Kelly pouncing on the opportunity to collect the ball, however his shot was deflected wide.
Two minutes later Kelly would trouble the opposition again, cutting in from the right and firing a left-footed shot towards the near corner, his shot was well saved and held by the keeper.
Cunningham was next to try his luck, he struck the ball sweetly on the half-volley, however the keeper reacted well to keep it out and he eventually smothered the rebound.
The best chance of the second-half up until this point fell to Kyffin, he leaped and met Yaduat’s cross, his header drifted just wide of the left post.
Dale’s third and final change of the game came with less than 15 minutes to play, as Jesus replaced Yaduat.
It was all Dale throughout the second-half following Lincoln’s second goal. This continued as Kyffin and Sutton worked together down Dale’s left-hand side, Jesus met the following cross that was fired into him, but his effort was blocked and deflected behind for a corner.
The pressure applied by Dale would eventually pay off, and it came from a Max Sutton cross again. The Dale full-back sent a powerful cross into the Lincoln box causing all sorts of problems.
The Lincoln defender was the first to the ball, but he couldn’t divert his clearance away from goal and ended up putting the ball into the back of his own net.
With just a matter of minutes to go Dale were hunting for a winner and they nearly had it with two great chances.
The first fell to Sutton on the edge of the area, his effort was blocked bravely by the covering Lincoln defender, who threw himself in front of the ball.
Following that, Kyffin received the ball out on the left, his shot was turned behind for a corner.
Despite Dale’s efforts they found themselves heading into a penalty shoot-out.
After both sides scored their first five penalties, the woodwork would deny Dale on their sixth, meaning that Lincoln needed to score to win, and they did just that.
Dale exit the competition at the quarter-final stage in this season's Youth Alliance Cup Northern.
Starting XI | Craven, Cunningham, Sutton, Kyffin, Watts, Nevett (C), Anderson, Dunlop, Dos Santos, Ehimamiegho, Yaduat.
Subs| MacLorg, Ayub, Greenwell, Kelly, Jesus.