bury 0-1 Rochdale

bury 0
Rochdale 1
(Murray 74)

Dale team: Gilks, Ramsden, McArdle, Crooks (Jackson), Goodall, Muirhead (Reet), Perkins, Doolan, Rundle, Dagnall (Poole), Murray.

There’s nothing quite like beating your biggest rivals on their own turf is there? “Forget Rangers v Celtic, forget United vs City – this is the big one!”, the tannoy man shouted, pre-match. While I understand his enthusiasm, surely no millions of people were waiting on the outcome of this match, no young, eager, Chinese lads were wearing fake Dale shirts off markets, and no ex-footballers were willing to proclaim this a “must-win match” on BBC’s Football Focus. But nevertheless, it means a lot to us.

It’s really hard to write an adequate report to derby games, with all the fat men, police and smoke-filled air obstructing your view. On matches like these, the football gets lost somewhere in the occasion, and becomes just a backdrop to loads of drunken noise. Half time discussions about tactics are replaced with relieved silence, before more shouting. I’m not saying I don’t like all this kind of thing, it’s just a shame that the biggest crowds pay least attention to the football itself. Further more, the bury (with a small b) lot give away fans the worst view in the ground, so Dale’s goalscorer actually was anonymous to many of the away support, including myself for a while.

It couldn’t have mattered less though.

The match itself was dire. A poor advert for fourth tier football. Hoofball followed by more hoofball, with a few bits of hoofball in between. I figured out this was Chris “the friendly ghost” Casper’s tactic – break up the play and get rid, basically. And it worked, at least for a while. The major incidents in the first half were some bury guy hitting the bar from a header (he looked two inches tall from my perspective), and three assorted fans being “escorted” from Gigg Lane. That was it. Dale were clearly trying to play it down the wings, but Ben Muirhead and Adam Rundle both suddenly forgot how to cross, and most of our play ended up as goal kicks. The half-time whistle went. An advert for the Samaritans flashed up on the scoreboard. 0-0.

Half time pies and sausage rolls were consumed (verdict: “‘orrible“) before the second forty-five got underway. 2,500 Dale fans were clearly out-singing bury fans (all three of ’em) in the first half, but up until we scored in the second-half, it all went a bit quiet throughout the stadium. Gigg Lane is a small-ish ground, with a clear and odd formation of slopes and undulations in the pitch itself. It might be why all derby games at bury are so shockingly awful.

General John Doolan had a magnificent match today, picking out passes, breaking up opposition attacks and basically doing nothing wrong. I’ve never been so impressed by the Doolanator as I was today, and he didn’t even do anything of real note, just did everything right. The 4-4-2, even with the man-of-the-match Doolan controlling it, was not working. The disappointing Muirhead was replaced by Danny Reet (complete with banana feet) on 70 minutes, but all this did was concentrate the hoofballs down the centre of the pitch instead of the centre and the wings. Nothing much happening…

Until four minutes later, a lot of stuff going on in the far penalty area (I’ll have to see the highlights to know what exactly) meant that Glenn Murray had scored a goal. It looked a bit like Reet or even Dagnall had scored it, but it mattered not. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!!!!!! Dale one-nil up, sixteen minutes to go, bury fans heading for the exits, some with uniformed friends, some not. This was followed by sixteen (plus five) minutes of pure dross masquerading as football.

With five minutes to go, a scuffle occurred just inside the bury half. “Off off off“, went the chants, as is standard for anything that looks like a raised hand. Then a headbutt (I think!) followed by some pushing, followed by some more chants, followed by some waiting – finally ending in a straight red card for bury player Darren Kempson. Or was it two yellow cards? One for ITV to show us tomorrow (The Championship, 10:55, ITV1). Apparently, there were also some elbows, a push and a punch thrown somewhere along the line. Whether this is kosher, or just some over-eager message board visitor’s fantasy we’ll have to wait and see. But two more yellow cards were shown before it settled down and Rochdale emerged victorious.

We now lie 12th in League Two, with 5 matches remaining. We are five points away from the final play-off place. Whilst technically possible, it would be unlikely that we would be featuring in a top 7 spot come the end of the season, given that there five teams we’d have to overtake to get us there. But it shows you how far we’ve come. Relegation worries eased by promotion chance. And how far bury have dropped – mid-table obscurity replaced with bottom-of-table obscurity.

Onwards and upwards!

One Response to bury 0-1 Rochdale

  1. […] have only won one of the previous eleven matches against Bury, but the one in which we did came at Gigg Lane two years ago when Glenn Murray scored the only goal of the game. Another 1-0 would do just fine, Bury are handy […]

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