Saturday 22nd November 2014 (3pm), Spotland, Sky Bet League One.Doncaster Rovers make the relatively short trip across the Pennines on Saturday to face Rochdale at Spotland for the first time in over a decade.
Incidentally, Rovers have faced Rochdale more than any other club in their history and this weekend’s League One fixture will be the 101st encounter in all competitions between the ‘Roses’ sides.
Most of the fixtures between the pair have taken place in the basement division and, with Dale currently lying eighth in League One, the east Lancashire club are on the crest of a wave.
With Keith Hill at the helm once again – after an indifferent spell at nearby Barnsley – the blues have surprised many this term.
Rovers last faced Rochdale in their successful 03/04 Third Division title winning season and following a 2-1 home win in October ’03 at Belle Vue – courtesy of goals from Francis Tierney and Chris Brown – the duo met again in the return at Spotland in March the following year.
Over 4600 attended the fixture which had a heavy away presence; many of whom had the smell of promotion in their nostrils.
Dave Penney’s men had stalled slightly with four draws and a solitary win from their previous five games and looked to be heading for their first defeat in eleven matches when Lee McEvily’s 73rd minute strike put the hosts ahead.
Roared on by a vociferous away support however, Rovers kept going and levelled deep in to injury time from an unlikely source.
Up for a set piece, centre back Mark Albrighton put an emphatic boot on a goalmouth scramble to force home an equaliser and earn Rovers a point to keep their momentum going.
Rovers finished the season as Champions, some 20 places and 42 points ahead of Dale.
Last time out (Tues 30th March 2004):
Rochdale 1 (McEvily, 73)
Rovers 1 (Albrighton, 90)
Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance – 4601
Rochdale - N Edwards, W Evans, D Livesey, G Heald, S Smith, L Bertos, N Redfearn, G Jones, W Flood, G Holt, K Townson (L McEvilly, 68)
Rovers - A Warrington, D Mulligan, D Morley, M Albrighton, T Ryan, J Melligan (A Rigoglioso, 84), R Ravenhill, J Doolan (P Green, 80), M McIndoe, G Blundell, L Fortune-West (A Akinfenwa, 61)
Head to head league results (in Rochdale):
Dale – 25
Rovers – 15
Draws – 8
Rovers – Dean Furman should be available for selection despite his international exertions. Defenders Rob Jones and Jamie McCombe are almost certain to miss out. Theo Robinson and Kyle Bennett will be vying to retain their starting spots.
Fancy a flutter? Rochdale – EVENS, Draw 13/5, Rovers 3/1
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