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RESOLUTE ROVERS EARN POINT ON THE ROAD AT ROCHDALE

4 February 2017

Rochdale 0-0 Bristol Rovers

Attendance: 3168 (577 away)

Both defences held strong at the Crown Oil Arena, as Rovers and Rochdale each earn a point in a goalless draw.

Heading into the game Rovers boss Darrell Clarke named two changes to the side that defeated Swindon Town at the Mem seven days ago, as Joe Partington was introduced to the starting eleven to make his full debut, while Luke James paired Ellis Harrison in attack. 

The home side named loanee goalkeeper Ben Wilson in their starting line-up, with experienced forward Ian Henderson leading their attacking line.

In the opening exchanges, Rochdale managed to win a series of early corners, with a number of deliveries from the left-hand side by Reuben Noble-Lazarus being headed away by the Rovers defence.

Rovers' first opportunity of the game was created by Stuart Sinclair, who did well to create space to deliver a left-footed cross into the area that was met by Luke James at the near post but the striker glanced his header narrowly over the crossbar after losing his man in the box.

The home side responded through Ian Henderson, who gathered the ball in the centre of the pitch and drove towards the Rovers penalty box but was halted by an excellently timed challenge by Ryan Sweeney, who was then able to get back onto his feet quickly to block a quickfire shot from the edge of the area.

Chances were few and far between during the first-half, with the playing surface at the Crown Arena making life difficult for both teams. Billy Bodin looked lively for Rovers and the winger was able to get in position on the fringes of the area to fire a shot on goal well over the crossbar, an opportunity which came about due to nice link-up play between Billy Bodin and Lee Brown down the left wing. Rochdale's Reuben Noble Lazarus managed to connect with a Harrison McGahey cross but his close-range header was held by Joe Lumley, who had a clear sight of the header in the congested penalty area. 

In the minutes leading up to the break, Rovers managed to produce the best chance of the opening forty-five minutes when Ellis Harrison won possession deep in the Rochdale half and with his back to goal the striker was able to angle a pass into the path of the advancing Stuart Sinclair who tangled with a defender but still managed to lay off the ball to Ollie Clarke, but the midfielder's first-time shot from inside the area lacked power and was saved comfortably by Ben Wilson.

Rochdale's Joel Taylor started the second half brightly, as the full-back managed to use his pace down the left to advance beyond Joe Partington and fire a cross into the area that was claimed by the leaping Joe Lumley, who was under pressure to gather the cross by Ian Henderson.

The game took on a slightly higher tempo during the second half, but clear-cut chances on goal were still hard to come by. McGahey delivered a curling in-swinging cross for Rochdale that found Peter Vincenti in the box, but a header from the substitute was directed straight at Joe Lumley who saved comfortably.

A series of sharp passes through midfield allowed Rovers to hit Rochdale on the break, with the move resulting in Stuart Sinclair trapping the ball on the edge of the area and the midfielder had the vision to pick out Lee Brown with the left-back running unchallenged into the area and firing a shot on target that had to be pushed away by the outstretched hand of 'keeper Ben Wilson.

In stoppage time substitute Rory Gaffney juggled the ball on the edge of the area and created space for himself to get a shot away from a narrow position, but the striker's effort rose over the crossbar.

Next up for Rovers is the visit of Bradford City to the Mem next Saturday in SkyBet League One. 



Rochdale: Ben Wilson (G), Joesph Rafferty, Jimmy McNulty, Harrison McGahey, Callum Camps (C), Oliver Rathbone (80' Jamie Allen), Reuben Noble-Lazarus (70' Donal McDermott), Keith Kane, Joel Taylor (55' Peter Vincenti), Mark Kitching, Ian Henderson.

Substitutes: Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Jack Redshaw, Conrad Logan, Andrew Cannon.

Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Joe Partington, Ryan Sweeney, Tom Lockyer (C), Lee Brown, Billy Bodin (90' Cristian Montano), Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke, Stuart Sinclair, Ellis Harrison (83' Rory Gaffney), Luke James. 

Substitutes: Will Puddy (G), Daniel Leadbitter, Jonny Burn, Lee Mansell, Byron Moore.

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