Rochdale 4-1 Accrington Stanley

Rochdale 4 (le Fondre pen 45, 65, 83, Jones 48)
Accrington Stanley 1 (Whalley 34)

Dale team: Spencer, Ramsden, Stanton, McArdle, Kennedy, Basham, Perkins, Jones, Rundle, Howe, le Fondre

At half time I’d already begun assembling adjectives to describe the game today; lacklustre, lethargic, disappointing, despondant, dire… Somehow I’d seen it all before at home this season. But then something amazing happened. We played brilliantly, last-season brilliantly, and ended up battering our neighbours Accrington Stanley. Football is often cruel, but it showed its generous side today.

I’d thought we’d win today. Don’t know why, I just imagined us winning (same as I did against Mansfield). Football fans have this innate ability that allows them to predict matches. Unfortunately it disappears when money is involved. We started off with an odd formation; a strangely disjointed midfield in between the usual back four and the two strikers. I couldn’t quite put my finger on where Adam Rundle was playing, not quite a winger, but not in the centre either. He just flitted around like paper in the wind. Basham couldn’t decide whether he was playing the Makélélé role or whether he was on the wing. Who knows? The upshot was that we were poor in the first half, Accrington easily looking the most dangerous of the two teams; and they went ahead through Shaun Whalley in the 34th minute through a composed finish, and what seemed an error from Tom Kennedy.

We were downright shoddy in the first half, Spencer was flapping at stuff, our defenders didn’t have anyone to distribute to, and we were having no joy down the flanks or in the middle. But were given a lifeline just before it ended. My friend departed two minutes before the whistle to get his usual pie, and just as he’d gone, Jones was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
“Was it a penalty?”, he asked when he returned just after le Fondre had scored from twelve yards.
“Yeh, Jones was just a little bit faster than their guy, he took it off his toe and Jonah fell over his leg”, I replied. “No pies left then?”, I asked, pointing to his Mars Bar.
“Not one”.
“Not quite the same is it?”
“Nah”. And with that, Dale trooped off with an undeserved scoreline to light applause.

Now after reading that, you may wonder how we turned it around. Granted, the wind was blowing against us in the first forty five, but we just looked a bit flat. The divoted and muddy pitch didn’t help, but surely it was the same for Accrington? What was said at half-time in that dressing room underneath the Main Stand I do not know. And frankly I don’t care. Maybe Flitcroft threatened to show them all his thong if they didn’t win? I’d like to think so.

The second half may has well have been a different match. The turning point of the entire game in my opinion was David Perkins’ direct, aggressive run which led to our second goal. Perks picked it up near the centre circle, bolted forward past two or three Stanley players and played a neat ball inside for Gary Jones to belt it high into the net. It was like Perkins had just decided to pick up the game by the scruff of its neck and give it a bloody good shaking. A fantastic goal.

After then, this game was all about Rochdale. A midfield changed had also improved our attacking efforts, Rundle being played in his natural left-wing position and Chris Basham being played at right wing. It was Basham’s volleyed cross which assisted our third goal, a header from le Fondre from not far out. It was a brilliant cross, and was the highlight of an impressive display from Basham. He reminds me of Jamie Clarke.

The fourth goal was my personal pick of the day. Adam Rundle played a ball down the wing for the industrious Perkins to chase, who then delivered a pin-point first-time cross for le Fondre to nod in his third. From our own half to their goal in about 5 seconds, the kind of goal Cristiano Ronaldo likes to score every week.

Accrington now were the ones made to look a bit rubbish. True, this game’s turnaround was helped by some poor refereeing and probably the weather, but we played some quite excellent attacking football in the second half. Perkins was having an absolute stormer. And I mean absolute. Man of the match for me, which is saying something considering Alfie had scored a hattrick.

The match petered out with nothing of real note, just a warm glow despite cold hands inside Spotland today.
“What happened?!”, some kid said as he jumped up and hugged his friend.
“I dunno! How can we play so badly and win?!” replied the hugged lad. Some Dale fans will never be happy.

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One Response to Rochdale 4-1 Accrington Stanley

  1. Mark Fullilove says:

    Thanks mate. I’ll add a link to yours too.

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