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Rochdale 1 Rovers 1

10 August 2019

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Kieran Sadlier was again the Rovers hero as he came up trumps with a late equaliser as his side preserved their unbeaten start to the season with a battling point at Rochdale.

Rovers were trailing through Aaron Morley’s effort which crept in at the far post, with Sadlier leaping highest in the closing stages to secure a point for Darren Moore’s men.

Rovers started brightly, in contrast to the thunder overhead as storms rolled in off the Pennines, with the best opportunities in the opening minutes.

Alfie May went the closest in the opening period, cutting in from the left and looping a right-footed effort towards the far corner which had Robert Sanchez scrambling to palm behind for a corner.

May scuffed an effort wide shortly afterwards as Rovers kept the ball well, with Kieran Sadlier also seeing an effort from distance blocked.

The home side came into it more as the game progressed, making for an entertaining and open affair, but Ian Lawlor was not called upon other than to acrobatically punch a deep cross away.

Rovers were forced into a reshuffle just before the half-hour mark as Alex Baptiste suffered an injury while playing the ball, with Matty Blair coming off the bench for his first competitive outing of the season and Ben Sheaf dropping into the centre-back role.

The home side’s first chance of the opening period came after 34 minutes when Rekeil Pyke rasped an effort which came off the outside of the far post after a nice move down the right. Shortly afterwards Lawlor was well positioned to hold a powerful effort from Jimmy Keohane at his near post.

It needed a bit of luck to deny them from taking the lead after 42 minutes when Pyke again broke free, with Lawlor alert to turn the ball away.

Rovers almost snatched the lead in time added on at the end of the first half when Whiteman was allowed to shoot from distance - with Sanchez flinging himself through the air to stop the effort before holding the ball at the second attempt.

There were no further changes from either side at the break. Lawlor was the first goalkeeper called into action as he came out to claim a Rhys Norrington-Davies cross.

Rovers’ first chance after the break came from a quick counter-attack led by May, he fed Sadlier whose effort was blocked at the near post by Sanchez.

Brad Halliday tried an effort from distance just after the hour mark, but his effort was always rising too high from the moment it left his foot.

The home side took the lead after 66 minutes when a corner was only cleared as far as Morley who delivered the ball into the area.

Pyle and Ian Henderson both flung themselves at the ball and missed, but with Lawlor expecting one of them to get a touch the ball ended up going in at the far corner.

Rovers pushed for an equaliser, with Coppinger steering an effort just wide from a Reece James cross.

Niall Ennis was brought on, replacing Coppinger, as manager Darren Moore sought to find more attacking options on the pitch.

May tried an effort from distance after 66 minutes which was comfortable for Sanchez.

Winger Jon Taylor, signed the day before, was then sent on for the final 13 minutes in place of Gomes.

Sadlier was close to levelling after 88 minutes when he got on the end of a clever flick from Ennis. His initial effort was blocked by Sanchez but looked to be falling nicely for Sadlier, only for Eoghan O’Connell to get in a vital last-ditch tackle with the goal gaping.

It looked like Rovers’ late endeavours would come to nothing as chances came and went, but Sadlier rose majestically to get his head on a a Taylor corner and send the ball crashing into the far top corner for his second goal of the season.


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