Rochdale 3 (Rundle, le Fondre 2 (1 pen))
Dale team: Spencer, Ramsden, D’Laryea, McArdle, Kennedy, Muirhead (Watt), Crooks (Doolan), Jones, Rundle (Prendergast), Dagnall (Higginbotham), le Fondre.
Whilst it’s not advisable to get carried away by friendly victories, I can’t help but feel enthusiastic after Dale demolished a strong Huddersfield side. Although all three of our goals came due to mistakes, we easily could have scored more, and we kept the Yorkshire side quiet throughout the ninety minutes.
The tone was set from the off, to the delight of the thousand-odd Daleys. After only three minutes or so had passed, Adam Rundle, the man who today came in for Prendergast on the left wing, curled in a free kick from 25 yards out. I would like to say the keeper had no chance, but he really should have saved it. Matt Glennon’s positioning was awful, and the day would only get worse for the Town goalkeeper. But, we really shouldn’t complain – one-nil to the Dale.
Only three minutes later, Matt Glennon gifted us our second goal of the game, thanks to an awful attempt at a pass from the man quickly dubbed “Dodgy keeper”. His scuffed pass was pounced upon by Adam le Fondre to make it two-nil inside ten minutes. Oh how I laughed. How must those supporters from the wrong side of the Pennines feel now? I imagine sickness, with a little bit of embarrassment thrown in.
Huddersfield’s attacking play was anaemic – Danny Cadamarteri probably being the biggest let down in their strike attack. And as for their midfield – it was non-existent! Crooks and Jonah had an easy time of it today, barely being threatened by their League One opposition. Bit of a worry though half way through the half, when Lee Crooks had to be replaced by John “Parrot” Doolan, but it looked more precautionary than necessary. Adam Rundle was having a great game down the left, and it was him who started off the move for Dale’s third. Rundle pressurised the Town right-back, and won the ball near the by-line, before playing a ball into the path of Adam le Fondre. Alfie couldn’t quite get to the ball, but luckily two Huddersfield defenders decided to needlessly upend the former Stockport striker, and gift us with a penalty, which Alfie duly tucked away. 3-0, the job done before half time.
The rest of the match was played out in training mode. Huddersfield neither looked capable, nor willing – their best player on the day was Frank Sinclair, who shut out most of Dale’s attacks in the second half. Dale’s best player was Nathan D’Laryea (pronounce it like you would pronounce Dallaglio, but put “Ree-ay” on instead of “lee-oh”). Nathan looks a competent centre back at this level – strong, fast and with enough common sense to hoof it when he needs too. He looks a great signing, but will obviously start as backup to Stanton and McArdle when the season begins.
There were only two other chances I can think of in the second half – Chris Dagnall had an effort agonisingly roll along the goal line, and at the other end, James Spencer somehow saved a point blank effort from Danny Cadamarteri (I don’t think he knows how he did it either). All in all, a good victory and performance – but does it really mean anything when your opposition is so bad?
Player by Player Round-up:
– Spencer: Looks dodgy on corners, but had little to do today.
– Ramsden: Impressive.
– McArdle: Not worked by a poor Town attack.
– D’Laryea: My man of the match, strong, athletic and didn’t allow himself to be pushed off the ball.
– Kennedy: Started poorly, but improved in the second half. Needs to gain a partnership with Rundle quickly.
– Muirhead: Played only half the match, and played like we expected him to. Definite first-teamer.
– Jones: Got more into it as the match wore on. Likes to play with Doolan more than Crooks.
– Crooks: Subbed after 30 minutes, but solid while he played.
– Rundle: Very good goal, if a little fortunate. Will play most of the season, barring injuries.
– Dagnall: Worked hard, but didn’t create too much. Subbed after a nasty challenge.
– le Fondre: Excellent, his chasing of lost causes impressed me a lot. Scored twice too.
– Doolan: Played some brilliant passes after replacing the injured Crooks.
– Watt: Looks to have a good touch, but will he be content on the bench if we sign him?
– Prendergast: Lacks confidence, but I think Rory is a decent player.
– Higginbotham: Didn’t do much.