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Match Reports

Report | Chesterfield 2-2 Dale

24 February 2024

Match Reports

Report | Chesterfield 2-2 Dale

24 February 2024

Goals from D’Mani Mellor and Devante Rodney saw Dale come back from 2-0 down to claim a point at league leaders Chesterfield.

After a goalless first half in which Dale created the better chances, the hosts scored twice in 15 minutes to look as though they were going to extend their lead at the top of the table.

However, a battling response saw Mellor and Rodney grab their first goals of the season, and earn a draw for Dale.

Jimmy McNulty made four changes from last weekend’s defeat at home to Solihull Moors. Adam Clayton and Devante Rodney made their first starts since returning from injury, with D’Mani Mellor and Finlay Armstrong also coming back into the starting eleven. Armstrong extended his loan stay from Fleetwood Town for a further short period, whilst new loan signing Dan Sassi made the matchday squad.

Dale created the better of the early chances, with Rodney having the first when Kairo Mitchell’s flick-on from Mellor’s header found the striker. He tried to lift it over the advancing Harry Tyrer, who stayed big to deny him with his chest.

Mitchell was the next to test the Chesterfield goalkeeper when the ball fell to him following Cian Hayes’ run forward. Dale’s number nine turned and shot from the edge of the area, but Tyrer held well, diving to his right.

Hayes caused problems for the home defence again minutes later, driving past Branden Horton and into the area after being found by Clayton, but his low ball across was held by Tyrer.

Tyrer, on loan from Premier League side Everton, was playing a crucial role in keeping the league leaders on level terms, as he denied Mitchell again midway through the first period. George Nevett clipped a perfectly weighted ball over the top for the Dale striker, who tried to cushion the ball over the goalkeeper, but he got a fingertip to it, allowing a defender to get back and clear in front of Rodney, who was closing in.

The hosts saw the majority of the possession in the first 45 minutes but didn’t test Dale stopper Tiernan Brooks, who saw several good blocks from his teammates prevent a clear sight at goal for the Spireites.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell got his head to a Clayton free-kick sent into the area, with Tyrer claiming the loose ball as Mitchell looked set to pounce.

Mitchell himself had the final chance of the half, after a long spell of Dale possession. He collected a ball into his feet inside the area but saw his shot on the turn fly wide of the near post.

However, less than two minutes after the break, the hosts took the lead. A partially cleared corner was sent back into the area, where Tom Naylor flicked it on. The ball came back off the inside of the post, struck Armstrong on the line, and rolled into the back of the net.

The Spireites doubled the lead shortly after the hour mark when Will Grigg converted Ollie Banks’ whipped cross from close range.

McNulty’s men responded well though and halved the deficit just five minutes later. Ryan East, on as a substitute, played a sublime through ball into the path of Mitchell, who saw a shot saved by Tyrer. The rebound fell for Mellor, who slotted home from six yards.

Chesterfield then had a goal ruled out for offside and Liam Mandeville fired a volley wide, as they looked to restore their two-goal cushion.

But it was Dale who grabbed the next goal, through Rodney. Substitute Tyrese Sinclair fed the underlapping Armstrong, who clipped a ball back into the middle from the byline. Rodney took a touch with his back to goal, turned and shot with his left foot, finding the top corner.

The hosts, who have scored a number of late goals this season, sent several balls into the Dale area late on, but the defence held strong to take a point away from the league leaders.

Dale XI | Brooks, Gordon, Ebanks-Landell ©, Clayton (65’ East), Mitchell, Rodney, Mellor (80’ Sinclair), Nevett (86’ Sassi), Hayes, Gilmour, Armstrong.

Unused subs | Keohane, Henderson.

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