Rochdale 1-0 Fleetwood TownJoe Bunney's 12th minute goal sealed all three points for Rochdale at Spotland on Tuesday evening. Fleetwood Town created numerous opportunities throughout, and even hit the bar in added time through Wes Burns but it was Kieth Hill's men that collected the points.
Bob Harris and Tyler Forbes came into the team due to injuries to regular full backs Conor McLaughlin and Amari’i Bell. It was Harris’ Cod Army debut after signing on loan from Sheffield United earlier this month.
Rochdale named club favourite Grant Holt on the bench after the striker recently re-joined the Spotland outfit on a permanent contract.
It was a quite start to the game in Greater Manchester, but with 12 minutes gone, Bunney handed the hosts the lead in unfortunate circumstances for Fleetwood Town.
A cross from the left hand side was converted by the number 39 as he got infront of the Cod Army defence to get the slightest of touches to divert the ball beyond Chris Maxwell.
Five minutes later, Steven Pressley’s men were presented a golden chance to draw level. A long punt upfield by skipper Jimmy Ryan was latched onto by Shola Ameobi, taking a kind deflection off a Dale shirt, the striker went through but a smart save by Josh Lillis denied the former Toon striker.
At the other end, Bunney went close to adding a second as Tyler Forbes header was off place allowing the attacker to shoot first time but Harris was on hand to make an important clearance on the goal line.
In the 34th minute, Stevie Jordan’s night came to a premature end through injury, with the returning Joe Davis coming on in his place.
In the dying embers of the first half, Ameobi shifted the ball away from the Rochdale defence to drag a left footed effort just wide of the post.
Town followed up with another late opportunity, Ash Hunter the creator as he carried the ball from inside his own half, which concluded in a Harris cross, Sarcevic’s first time effort was off target.
The second half began with no real urgency from either side as Town looked to break through the Dale defence.
A few corner kicks and a claim for a penalty by the Cod Army was the highlight of the opening 20 minutes before Pressley introduced loan striker Burns for Bobby Grant.
Immediately the Bristol City man looked a nuisance, as he did from the bench on Saturday, as he took the ball off the Dale defence to strike over the cross bar from 20 plus yards.
The final change saw Tyler Forbes replaced by Nick Haughton as Fleetwood Town pushed for the equalising goal. This saw Jonsson move to right back and Nick join the midfield alongside Antoni Sarcevic and skipper Ryan.
The substitutes had a positive impact for the visitors, adding a creative flair to the right hand side of the field.
With just over five minutes left on Darren Handley’s watch, Ameobi had his third sight on the Dale goal, but no execution was on his header from a Jonsson cross.
At the other end, Holt, nearly capped a dream return at Rochdale as his ferocious strike was saved well by Maxwell after coming on as a second half sub.
In stoppage time, Burns missed three glorious chances to claim a point for Fleetwood inside sixty seconds. From a corner, his header hit the bar and his follow up strike was deflected over the bar. From the following corner, Burns had another chance but blazed over as Town suffered their second defeat of 2016. Next up is an away trip to Coventry City on Saturday.