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Is it possible that this is the least biased match report ever.....


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Taken from the Rochdale fans site...

 

On an evening where the weather ensured that some of our smaller players were in danger of drowning, Oldham came out the winners via a penalty shoot out after a keenly contested game that neither side had a clear edge over the other. And they did so after surviving the first half sending off of talented Welsh international Craig Davies who was dismissed for an off the ball incident.

 

We had the first moment of "respect" when we carried out the new Football League ruling of players lining up and shaking hands before the game to allow us to all live happily ever after as one big happy family.

 

But seconds later, we had some genuine respect when we had the minute's applause for Ernie Cooksey where all fans stood together, sang his name and paid respects due. He was never one of the game's superstars but he's worth a million Cristiano Ronaldos and the boy from Bishop's Stortford will be missed.

 

The visitors were certainly the better side in the opening stages and looked very much in danger of running away with it. The gulf in class between the two teams was definitely very evident in that opening twenty minutes where we spent a great deal of time chasing shadows.

 

We spent much of that period trying to mark our own stewards, until we realised it wasn't an Oldham player trying to kick someone out for standing. Not even the excuse "it looks good with jeans" could pass for the abomination of a kit that our visitors were wearing.

 

But whilst Oldham were doing all the pressing, all the passing, and all the creating, they weren't doing all of the shooting, and despite Stanton going AWOL at one point, they weren't turning that possession into chances.

 

The game's first real talking point came in this period. Lee Hughes was in the box, but not really going anywhere and rode a tackle from McArdle and dropped to the floor. I didn't think there was any contact but the lack of complaints from the former Northern Ireland U-21 captain suggests there probably was.

 

Up stepped Lee Hughes putting the ball to Russell's right only to find the former Darlo keeper saved superbly, and not only that raced after the rebound to ensure Dale stayed on level terms.

 

It certainly wasn't a constant bombardment from the Latics though. Dale got more and more into the game, and whilst we didn't have a dominant period in the first half, we did carve out one or two openings.

 

Dagnall came close after taking advantage of a Gregan slip up, only for the slippery surface to catch out the scouse striker. And Tom Kennedy came very close to breaking the deadlock when he forced veteran keeper Mark Crossley into a full length save from an excellent free kick outside of the box. Where was TK last season when Doolan was playing wally with the opposition wall?

 

And then came the sending off incident. Like most people, the actual incident which led to the sending off went unnoticed with many calling for the dismissal of Lee Hughes, only for his strike partner Craig Davies to receive his marching orders.

 

Now I'm happy for the television replays to show something a million miles from what I think I saw. But it appeared to me that Kennedy dropped to the floor after a minor tussle with Hughes. Within a second there were huge complaints from the Dale players and from the sidelines that Hughes had stamped on Kennedy.

 

To me it looked like Kennedy had almost grabbed Hughes' boot to prevent him getting away, and the "stamping" was more Hughes trying to free his foot. Anyway, it was missed by both the linesman who was about a yard away and the referee who was surrounded by three or four Dale players.

 

Words were exchanged, and then a red card came out for the only Oldham player in that half of the pitch. There was talk of something being said, and also talk of a head butt on Nathan Stanton. I'm sure we'll find out in the fullness of time.

 

The second half saw Oldham almost score before we'd even touched the ball. They had a great passing move, involving numerous players before the ball dropped smack bang in the middle of the six yard box to a waiting Lee Hughes. Without doubt, he was the most relieved man in the stadium to look up and see the offside flag as he booted the ball as high into the WMG as was possible from that far out.

 

That chance from Oldham proved to be one of their final chances in the game, as the extra man on the Dale side started to take its advantage. But like Oldham early in the game, having possession and having out and out chances are two separate things, and the replacement of Reuben Hazell at the centre of the Oldham defence with Stefan Stam helped tighten things up.

 

But the chances came our way. Chris Dagnall was outstanding again up front for Dale, and I'd go as far as saying was the difference between the two sides. He played with intelligence, plotting many an attack on the Oldham backline.

 

He came close to scoring on a couple more occasions. He had a header which was tipped over by Crossley, and he snatched at a shot when put in by Le Fondre, though pushing it out further wide to Higginbotham might have been a better option.

 

With Alfie on now, there was further pressure on the Oldham defence, but there was no way through. Alfie was limited to an effort from the edge of the box, but Crossley's punch away probably made it look a better chance that it actually was.

 

Extra time was looking inevitable at that point, and you could probably have put your money on it going straight through to penalties which proved to be the case. Extra time brought little chances for either side, and it seemed just a carbon copy of the previous ninety minutes with defences remaining on top throughout.

 

There were some very tired legs out there and it proved to be too much for some as it was clearly taking its toll on some of the players from both sides. Players aren't meant to be playing 120 minutes of football when they're still finding their feet in the new season.

 

And so just 87 days since that penalty drama against Darlington, we had it all over again. Again the spot kicks were taken at the Sandy Lane end of the ground, but the outcome was different this time, as Dagnall skied it into the back of the Sandy and Le Fondre's kick was easily saved by Crossley. Was it ever in doubt that Hughes would score the winning penalty?

 

It was a defeat that we can take plenty from. It'd be far too easy to look at this as failing to beat a side with ten men. There'll be some concentrating on us not scoring in two games, whilst completely ignoring the two clean sheets that we've kept and wondering why we've not already secured our place back at Wembley yet.

 

Oldham are a good side, and we certainly gave them a hard time tonight as shown by their willingness to reach the penalty shoot out stage. We were hard working, never gave up and weren't a million miles from where we want to be. It's coming together again.

 

Once again I say....not all teams report like Millwall!!!!

 

Almost biased towards us.... hee hee

 

Big xx

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Taken from the Rochdale fans site...

We spent much of that period trying to mark our own stewards, until we realised it wasn't an Oldham player trying to kick someone out for standing. Not even the excuse "it looks good with jeans" could pass for the abomination of a kit that our visitors were wearing.

:grin:

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But seconds later, we had some genuine respect when we had the minute's applause for Ernie Cooksey where all fans stood together, sang his name and paid respects due. He was never one of the game's superstars but he's worth a million Cristiano Ronaldos and the boy from Bishop's Stortford will be missed
so true
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We spent much of that period trying to mark our own stewards, until we realised it wasn't an Oldham player trying to kick someone out for standing. Not even the excuse "it looks good with jeans" could pass for the abomination of a kit that our visitors were wearing.

 

Very good report. Like this comment, quality :applause1:

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