|Rochdale 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
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Monday, 5th April 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Rochdale 0-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Monday, 5th Apr 2021 17:00
Town drew 0-0 away in Lancashire for the second time in 10 days as they shared the points with bottom side Rochdale. Chances were rare at both ends throughout with neither side managing a shot on target in the 90 minutes.
Troy Parrott replaced James Norwood in an otherwise unchanged Town side, the former Tranmere man having suffered a thigh injury during Good Friday’s 2-1 home victory over Bristol Rovers.
The Blues continued in the 3-5-2 system they switched to against the Pirates, while striker Oli Hawkins and left-back Myles Kenlock returned to the bench with Freddie Sears dropping out of the 18.
Rochdale made two changes from the team which lost 2-1 at Portsmouth on Monday with centre-half Haydon Roberts replacing Paul McShane and Jay Lynch in goal for Irish international Gavin Bazanu.
There was a late of change of referee with Robert Lewis taking charge instead of Christopher Sarginson who was scheduled to take control.
After the players and officials had taken a knee in support of Black Lives Matters, again with the exception of Toto Nsiala and also Rochdale’s Roberts, the home side saw most of the ball in the early stages as the teams sought to get used to the strong wind but without seriously threatening.
But Town, wearing their light blue away kit, began to get on top and in the ninth minute Alan Judge hit the first shot of the game well over the bar.
In the 15th minute, following a throw on the right, Gwion Edwards crossed from the right towards the far post but too far in front of Stephen Ward, who had broken forward into the area in response to instructions from manager Paul Cook from the dugout.
On 20 Luke Woolfenden worked himself space for a shot from an Andre Dozzell corner on the right but his effort was blocked.
The Blues were looking to get the ball forward quickly for Kayden Jackson to chase, while at the other end the Town backline had prevented the home side from threatening.
In the 31st minute Jackson charged down a clearance from Dale keeper Lynch and spent a minute or so on the ground winded before carrying on.
Town began to pass the ball around more slickly and in the 34th minute Parrott exchanged passes with Jackson as he broke into the area but the on-loan Tottenham man was crowded out as he looked to get in a shot.
Three minutes later, after a Blues free-kick on the right had been half-cleared, Nsiala laid the ball to Judge 25 yards out and the Irishman struck a shot which few not too far wide of Lynch’s right post.
As half-time approached, Town moved Edwards to the left of as the Blues moved to a 4-2-3-1 system, perhaps more 4-2-2-1-1 with Parrott behind Jackson.
In injury time, home skipper Eoghan O’Connell played an under-hit backpass from distance into the wind which Jackson seized upon, however, Roberts got across to play to Lynch.
Once again chances had been rare at both ends with neither side managing a shot on target in the 45 minutes. Judge’s shot beyond the post the nearest either team had got to a goal in a not hugely entertaining wind-affected half.
Jackson’s pace in behind had threatened to cause Rochdale problems on a number of occasions but without resulting in any actual chances, while Parrott’s clever feet had almost worked the Irish striker a chance.
At the other end, the Blues had been comfortable with Dale never looking like creating an opening with set pieces having presented their main threat.
Five minutes after the restart the Blues were awarded a free-kick not far outside the area to the right for a foul on Judge, although with Bishop breaking into the area and looking to have a shooting opportunity. Dozzell took the free-kick and curled it just wide.
On 55 Jake Beesley, son of former Town kitman Paul, sent a low ball across the Blues area from the left but with none of his team-mates having broken into the box.
Town claimed a penalty in the 62nd minute when Parrott was upended as he and two defenders battled for the ball to the right of goal inside the box. It looked a racing incident rather than a foul.
Rochdale, who had been on top since the break, thought they’d won a penalty three minutes later when Matty Done went to ground as he took the ball past Nsiala, however, the linesman’s flag had been raised, saving referee Robert Lewis from a big decision with the Rochdale man appearing to dive.
Dale swapped Kwado Baah and Conor Grant for Alex Newby and Stephen Dooley in the 65th minute.
Town had made little impact since half-time so it was little surprise when manager Cook made a triple substitution in the 72nd minute with Josh Harrop, Oli Hawkins and Armando Dobra taking over from Judge, Parrott and Edwards.
The introduction of the subs added some urgency to Town’s previously torpid approach and on 76 Dobra made a pacy run forward from inside the Blues’ half before feeding Jackson to his right. The striker crossed for Harrop well placed in the middle but a defender took it off the on-loan Preston man’s foot just as he looked certain to score. Town swapped Jackson for Aaron Drinan with 10 minutes left on the clock.
A minute later, Done worked himself space to shoot from a tight angle on the left but Woolfenden bundled it behind. With six minutes remaining Kenlock replaced Bishop in a left-sided role ahead of Ward.
With a minute and a half remaining, Harrop was booked for a foul on Ollie Rathbone as Dale looked to break.
Another frustrating afternoon for Town fans. A win would have taken the Blues to within a point of the play-offs but Town never seriously threatened against the division’s bottom-placed side, who were the better team for much of the second half. Neither side managing a shot on target summed up an afternoon of toil and little quality.
A second 0-0 away draw in Lancashire in 10 days for the Blues who remain in the running for a play-off place - they’re now eighth, three points off the top six - but while showing little that indicates that they’re capable of making a serious challenge in their remaining eight matches.
Rochdale: Lynch, Osho, O'Connell (c), Beesley, Keohane, Rathbone, Roberts, Done, Grant (Dooley 65), Shaughnessy, Baah (Newby 65). Unused: Bazunu, McNulty, McShane, Morley, Vale.
Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Edwards (Dobra 72), Dozzell, Bishop (Kenlock 84), Judge (Harrop 72), Ward, Parrott (Hawkins 72), Jackson (Drinan 80). Unused: Cornell, McGuinness, Kenlock. Referee: Robert Lewis (Shrewsbury).
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