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Match Reports

Preview: Rochdale (H)

14 March 2015

Fleetwood Town 1-0 Rochdale

Josh Morris scored for the third consecutive game as Fleetwood Town made it two league wins on the bounce by beating Rochdale at Highbury Stadium.

The Cod Army claimed back-to-back league wins over Keith Hill's men, as Morris was on the score sheet back when the sides met at Spotland in December. Josh's goal came 14 minutes into the second half and proved to decisive.

The 23-year-old took aim from 22 yards before unleashing a low drive beyond the dive on Rochdale’s despairing goalkeeper Jamie Jones.

Stewart Murdoch did his best to double the advantage hitting the crossbar with five minutes remaining but Town saw the game out and remain two points of the play-off places.

Manager Graham Alexander made just one change to the side that was victorious over Sheffield United last weekend with Nathan Pond coming in for the injured Stephen Jordan.

Prior to the action getting underway, Town’s Tony Barlow, who is a member of security at Highbury, led the two sides out on Prostrate Cancer Awareness Day at Highbury ahead of his London to Amsterdam Cycle Ride in June.

The two sides played out a cagey first half with the visitors doing most of the pushing, though the Town defence remained strong.

Jamie Allen, playing just behind the interchanging front three of Peter Vincenti, Joe Bunney and captain Ian Henderson tried to pull the strings teeing up both Vincenti and Henderson.

Vincenti was denied by a courageous diving block by Mark Roberts while Henderson dragged his attempt wide after being flicked in.

With Jamie Proctor playing a lone role up top, Town struggled to impact the first period. Nick Haughton’s wayward effort from distance with 25 minutes on the clock being the best it got.

Haughton’s only other involvement in the first half, being on the receiving end of a heavy challenge by Andy Cannon which saw the Dale right-back cautioned much to the disappointment of the Highbury crowd.

The 20-year-old was replaced at the break by Liam McAlinden. The Wolves’ loanee’s arrival signalling a switch in systems as Alexander reverted to the familiar 4-4-2 diamond.

It almost paid dividends immediately with last week’s match-winner Josh Morris firing a shot narrowly wide just 20 seconds after the restart.

Prior to the hour mark Morris set his sights again. This time his effort found its way inside Jamie Jones’ post to nestle in the bottom corner giving Town the lead and the Blackburn loanee his seventh goal of the season.

As Town kept Dale at bay, their frustration nearly boiled over with Cannon fortunate not to be given his marching orders for a challenge on Morris having already been booked.

Keith Hill recognised Morris’ threat replacing Cannon with Oliver Lancashire, his third and final change having replaced Vincenti and Joe Bunney with Scott Tanser and Febian Brandy respectively.

Rather than sit on the lead the Cod Army almost doubled their advantage in the closing moments. Murdoch attempting an audacious volley from 30 yards which hit the Dale crossbar before Morris dragged the rebound wide.

As the visitors heaped on the pressure in stoppage time the Town defence, with Pond at the heart held firm to take the points.

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