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Match Reports

Match Report - Rochdale 3-4 Rovers

30 April 2022

An unbelievable comeback from the Gas secured a play-off spot at the very least after an incredible afternoon in Greater Manchester.

The Gas started the clash with one change to the XI that started against Forest Green. Josh Grant coming in for Nick Anderton at the back. Alex Rodman also featured on the substitutes bench.

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A tender start from both teams presented few clear cut chances. The first of the game fell to James Connolly after a brilliant flick from Connor Taylor played in Elliot Anderson whose cross was spilt by Jake Eastwood in the Rochdale net and stabbed wide from Connolly from close range.

The hosts took the lead just past the 10-minute mark. Luke Charman surged past Rovers' defence and made no mistake with his finish, firing hard and low past Belshaw into the far corner of the net to open the scoring.

Charman had the ball in the back of the net for a second time eight minutes later. Corey O'Keeffe's delicate cross found the boot of the Rochdale number nine who was on hand to turn the ball past a helpless Belshaw from close range.

The Gas got themselves back in the tie 10 minutes into the second half. Tenacious play from Antony Evans forced the ball through to Sam Finley, who sneaked his shot past Eastwood into the corner of the net.

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The hosts found themselves two in front on the hour mark. O'Keeffe's initial effort was parried by Belshaw but only back out to the defender who smashed the rebound into the net for Dale's third of the afternoon.

Rovers had their second goal of the clash on the 66th-minute mark. Evans forced himself past the Rochdale defenders to slide the ball across the area to the feet of Aaron Collins who could not miss the target from about two yards out to get the Gas within one goal of the hosts.

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The Gas were on the up now. Rovers crafted another opportunity for themselves as the clock drew closer to the 90-minute mark. Luke Thomas cleverly allowed the ball to run through to Harry Anderson who got his head up and fired the ball across the Rochdale penalty area where Aaron poked in his second and Rovers' third to set up a grandstand finish in Greater Manchester. 

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Six minutes of added time was shown by the fourth official and Rovers were going to need every minute of it to pull off a sensational comeback. In the 95th minute, it was complete. Aaron hit the ball towards goal following Ryan Loft's cross. Dale 'keeper Eastwood threw himself in front of Aaron's shot where it then rebounded to the Rovers No.10 who smashed the ball into the empty net for his hat-trick to send the 2,005 travelling Gasheads into raptures.

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Rochdale pushed for a late equaliser to extinguish the Gas' hopes. After a skirmish in the Rovers penalty area, Paul Coutts received a straight red card from referee Ross Joyce for retaliating to a challenge. 

The Gas saw out the remainder of the game backed by the superb noise from the Gasheads on the far side of the ground and picked out a huge three points in our push for the last automatic promotion spot.

Today's win, combined with results from elsewhere cements a play-off spot at least for Rovers to mark an outstanding run of form in 2022.

JMP_Rochdale_v_Bristol_Rovers_RC_091.JPGNext up for the Gas is the visit of Scunthorpe United to The Mem on Saturday, 7th May (3pm KO). 

ROCHDALE: Eastwood, O'Keeffe, Taylor, O'Connell, Dooley, Charman, Grant, Keohane, Done, Brierley, Clark.

Subs: Kelly, White, Newby, Odoh, Andrews, Cashman, Scanlon.

ROVERS: Belshaw, Hoole (78'), Taylor (74'), Connolly, Grant (35'), Coutts (c), Finley, Anderson H, Evans, Collins, Anderson E.

Subs: Jaakkola, Thomas (35'), Rodman, Whelan, Loft (74'), Anderton, Nicholson (78').

Referee: Ross Joyce


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