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Club News

Rovers 2 Rochdale 0

29 December 2017

First-half strikes from Ben Whiteman and Alfie May extended Rovers’ winning streak to three Sky Bet League One games and moved them into the top half of the table with a 2-0 win over Rochdale.

Whiteman’s fourth-minute effort from just outside the area was follow by May’s equally long distance shot.  

It was a bright start from the home side, and immediately they took the lead, scoring with the game’s first shot on goal.
 
Good persistence down the right from John Marquis paid off as his ball into the box was headed down by May.
 
May teed up Whiteman who half-volleyed from the edge of the area and into the top corner to hand Rovers the lead inside four minutes.
 
Rovers then had a good chance to double their lead just two minutes later, with Marquis again causing problems for the Dale defence.
 
His work enabled James Coppinger to curl a shot on goal from the edge of the area, but Josh Lillis was equal to it, claiming the ball at the second attempt.
 
Rovers were on top, and yet another good chance could’ve seen them increase their advantage.
 
A Coppinger corner from the right caused a scramble in the visitor’s box, with Marquis and Mathieu Baudry both having shots blocked, before Coppinger himself drilled wide from the edge of the area, albeit from a tight angle.
 
Rochdale did start to get back into the game as the half approached the half-way point, and Matt Done was the first to test Ian Lawlor, with his one-two with Joe Bunney resulting in the former Sheffield United man shooting on goal.
 
His strike was hit well, but the Irishman got down quickly to turn the ball around the post.
 
With their next attack, Dale had their best chance, with Ian Henderson’s neat ball into the box aimed towards Andy Cannon who was unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
 
Cannon however fired over from close range, and this was a miss that would prove costly just a minute later.
 
Tommy Rowe’s ball through the middle was taken well by May, who created room for a shot just inside the area.
 
May’s right-footed drive deflected of the boot of Kgosi Ntlhe and over a stranded Lillis to double the Rovers’ lead inside half an hour.
 
Coppinger and Marquis linked up once more for one final chance before the break, with the captain turning and finding Marquis in space, but he could only fire past the post, not causing Lillis any trouble.
 
Rochdale came out quickly themselves after the interval, desperately searching for a goal that would get them back into the game.
 
Henderson was first to test the Rovers’ defence, as his volley from just outside the area was pushed away by Lawlor, before a quick rebound by substitute Calvin Andrew was claimed by the Rovers’ keeper.
 
Done then worked space down the left and crossed in for Joe Bunney, however his deft touch fizzed wide of Lawlor’s far post, not really troubling the home goal.
 
A neat free-kick routine almost caught Rovers out, as Callum Camps set up Cannon on the right, but his ball in escaped any danger, with Rovers able to clear.
 
Oliver Rathbone was next to test Lawlor, but his curler from the edge of the box was all too easy for the Irishman to collect.
 
Cannon was Dale’s major threat, and he cut inside from the right with two minutes to go, but his shot from distance went wide of Lawlor’s near post.
 
Rovers now travel to Peterborough United on New Year’s Day, as they will look to pick up in 2018 where they left off from the previous year.


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