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Match Reports

Report: Rochdale 3-1 Iron

23 March 2019

The Iron fell to a 3-1 defeat against Rochdale at the Crown Oil Arena in Sky Bet League One on Saturday afternoon.

Despite Jordan Hallam’s debut EFL goal for United, it wasn’t enough, as Aaron Wilbraham netted twice, and Kgosi Ntlhe scored in the second half for the Dale who went on to earn all three points.

Manager Stuart McCall made two changes to the side that was defeated by Portsmouth last weekend. Hallam was handed his first start for the Iron, while Levi Sutton also returned from a groin injury. They replaced George Thomas and Tom Pearce in the starting eleven who were both away on International duties. 

The Iron got the game underway and had the first opportunity of the match straight after kick-off. Tony McMahon gathered possession on the right flank before he crossed for Funso Ojo in the centre. The Belgian connected with the ball on the volley but fired just wide of the target. 

Seconds later, United came forward again. Kyle Wootton was dragged down on the edge of the area and McMahon took the free-kick, but he smashed his effort straight into the wall. 

Levi Sutton then got on the ball in midfield and produced a brilliant touch to get past his marker down the right. He sent a low drive flashing across the face of the area looking for James Perch, however his side-footed volley went over the bar. 

Then, Rochdale had their first chance of the game. Ryan McLaughlin got down the right-hand side before he stood up a cross at the back post. Aaron Wilbraham got up well to win the header but directed his effort into the hands of Jak Alnwick.  

However, the home side attacked again a minute later and, this time, Wilbraham was able to put the Dale in front. He latched onto a square ball inside the area and fired into the net with 14 minutes on the clock. 

The Iron weren’t behind for long, as Hallam struck the ball past Andy Lonergan two minutes later to level the score after he nipped in to steal possession back before closing in on goal and slotting past the ‘keeper. 

Hallam was then involved again shortly after when he controlled a lofted throughball from Sutton which evaded the Rochdale defence. However, as the debutant bared down on goal, Lonergan charged out quickly and closed down the angle to block the shot. 

On 25 minutes, Dale won a corner. Ethan Ebanks-Landell rose highest to meet it with his head, but Alnwick saved comfortably. 

Then, with ten minutes to go before the interval, Oliver Rathbone lined up a shot from distance, however, the midfielder dragged his effort wide of the post. 

The fourth official signalled for three minutes of added time at the end of the first half, but neither side were able to score again going into the break. 

As the teams emerged for the start of the second half, the Iron made a change, as McMahon went off and Lewis Butroid came on.

However, it was Rochdale with the first opportunity after the restart, as Wilbraham connected with a cross from the right, but his header was wide of the mark. 

With 50 minutes played, Dale were in front again. Kgosi Ntlhe restored the hosts advantage when he turned Rathbone’s deflected effort beyond Alnwick. 

Not long after, Matthew Done looked to get in behind the Iron backline when an over the top throughball found him, however Alnwick was alert and gathered possession back for the Iron. 

Then, with almost an hour played, Rochdale went two ahead. Wilbraham notched his second of the game when he nodded in a right-wing cross at the back post.

The Iron looked for another quick response and almost had it when Harrison McGahey and Wootton forced Lonergan into a fine double save. McGahey got down the right before the goalkeeper tipped the ball into the path of Wootton, who fired at goal on the turn, but Lonergan sprung to his feet and turned the ball behind. 

On 65 minutes, Done drew Alnwick into a good save down in his bottom right, before the attacker tried his luck again moments later, bit his second effort flew well over the crossbar.

Ten minutes later, Ian Henderson was played through on goal, but as he slotted the ball past Alnwick, the linesman had raised his flag for offside.

There was a minimum of five minutes added time at the end of the game, and Rochdale held out for the victory.

TEAM LINE-UPS:
Rochdale: Lonergan, McLaughlin, Ntlhe (Keohane, 85), McNulty, Ebanks-Landell, Camps, Rathbone, Done (Dooley, 90+2), Wilbraham (Andrew, 78), Bunney, Henderson (C).
Unused substitutes: Inman, Adshead, Hamilton, Wade. 

Scunthorpe United: Alnwick, McMahon (Butroid, 45), Ojo, Perch (Hammill, 70), Novak, Burgess, Sutton, McArdle (C), McGahey, Wootton, Hallam.
Unused substitutes: Flatt, Borthwick-Jackson, Webster, Lewis, Olomola. 

Referee: Eddie Ilderton.

Attendance: 3,361 (578 away).

United's next game sees them host AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, March 30th and tickets can be bought now from www.sufctickets.com.


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