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Match Reports

Report | Dale 2-2 Oxford City

9 March 2024

Match Reports

Report | Dale 2-2 Oxford City

9 March 2024

Dale were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Oxford City on Saturday.

Goals from Kairo Mitchell for his 12th of the season and a first professional goal for Sam Mather to equalise meant Dale took a point at the Crown Oil Arena. The away side had turned the game around before half-time until Dale got back on level terms.

Jimmy McNulty made four changes from Tuesday’s trip to Barnet. Harvey Gilmour returned from suspension with Jesurun Uchegbulam and George Nevett back into the starting eleven. Sam Mather also made his first professional start after coming off the bench midweek.

Devante Rodney was back on the bench with Finlay Armstrong and Corey Edwards out of the side.

The game started evenly with neither side on the front foot early doors.

Nine minutes in and Dale began to dictate play and had the first opportunity through Mather. Cameron John made a run forward and cut back into the path of the youngster, whose left-footed strike rolled just wide.

Two minutes later, Dale took the lead. Ethan Ebanks-Landell played a long ball over the top of the Oxford City backline, which Mitchell took in his stride and converted low under the goalkeeper to break the deadlock and extend his goal tally to 12 for the season.

Cameron John made a superb last-ditch challenge on Josh Parker moments later who was clean through on goal.

Cian Hayes looked lively down the right and had a chance when he cut in onto his left and curled one narrowly wide of the far post.

Dale were creating all the attempts with Ebanks-Landell having a header that missed the target after a cross from Hayes.

Oxford City began to grow into proceedings and Brooks had to have his wits about him to parry a Parker header over his crossbar.

However, from the resulting corner the visitors took the lead. The ball was delivered into the middle which was headed down into the path of Harvey Greenslade, who tapped home from close range 27 minutes in.

And ten minutes before the break, the away side had turned the game on its head. Greenslade found space down the right and his cross-shot was parried invitingly for top scorer Parker to slide home into an empty net.

Dale had the first attempt of the second-half when Hayes slotted it to Ryan East on the edge of the area and his powerful strike was well blocked.

Just after the hour mark, Oxford City had a chance through Lewis Coyle who struck through the ball, flying just off target.

Four minutes later substitute Devante Rodney got the ball with his back to goal, but his eventual effort diverted away by the defender.

Dale managed to get back on level terms on 77 minutes. Hayes did well down the right, taking it to the byline and pulling across for Sam Mather to pass it home from close range for his first goal in a Dale shirt in just his second appearance.

Rochdale could have taken all three points when Rodney did excellently to beat three defenders and race clean through on goal, but the forward fired over the bar.

Just before the 90-minute mark, Harvey Gilmour had an attempt from a corner when the ball just missed George Nevett’s head. The midfielder’s strike was blocked just in front of goal.

Hayes had Dale’s final chance from a free-kick on the edge of the box, his shot took a deflection off the wall and into Tom Watson’s arms with his side hanging on to a point.

Dale XI | Brooks, Gordon, John (64’ Keohane) , East, Ebanks-Landell, Mitchell, Uchegbulam (56’ Rodney) , Nevett, Hayes, Gilmour, Mather.

Unused Subs | Clayton, Sassi, Henderson.

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