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Rochdale 1 Grimsby 0

By: Kevin Dolan
Date: 13/09/2006

GRIMSBY Town's dismal away form continued with another defeat and another blank in front of goal at Rochdale last night. The only goal of the game came from Morike Sako's low shot 12 minutes into the 2nd half.

Home > 2006-2007 Season > Reports > Rochdale (a)

Although Town went on to hit the bar and miss a sitter, the home side were well worth the three points.

1st Half

The Mariners made two changes from Saturday's win over Walsall with Whittle and Bore coming in for the injured McIntosh and Beagrie respectively. Graham Rodger also changed to a 4-3-3 formation with Rankin and Bore playing as the wide men.

The home side, with their newly laid pitch in excellent condition, dominated the opening period of the game and Town struggled to live with them. Playing at a high tempo and with a varied approach play that belittled their position, the first 20 minutes were spent almost solely in the Mariners half. For all their hard work though they were unable to create any golden opportunities and their best chance came when Barnes spilled a routine header onto the post and out for a corner.

After weathering the initial storm, Town began to steady themselves and with their first meaningful attack of the game had the best effort of the half. All the Rochdale players left a long ball down the right from Croft, Rankin raced on to it and from the corner of the penalty area hit a great dipping volley, which the Rochdale keeper tipped over well for a corner.

From then on the first half was a pretty even affair, played at a very fast pace, although neither side came very close to scoring. Peter Bore had looked more and more dangerous as Town attacked, but was injured just before half time and then withdrawn at the interval.

2nd Half

Despite Town coming out for the 2nd half a few minutes early, Rochdale again started the better and it was little surprise when they eventually scored The home side's Gary Jones made a run down the left to the by-line and pulled (scuffed) the ball back towards the centre of the penalty area. With the whole Town defence flat-footed, Sako was the first react and his turn and shot was too strong for Barnes who got a decent hand to the ball but could only steer it into the corner of the net. 1-0

To their credit, Town responded well and began to put the home side under some sustained pressure for the only time in the match. Chances were hard to come by though until 20 minutes to go when Rankin could have scored 3 times in successive attacks. Firstly, receiving the ball in the centre of the Rochdale half, he brilliantly worked some space with four Rochdale defenders hovering around him and then hit a superb 25-yard shot, which smacked off the bar with the keeper well beaten.

From Town's next attack, a deep cross was unexpectedly missed by a Rochdale defender and the ball ricocheted off Rankin and the defender and into the keeper's hands before the Town man had time to react. As Rankin slowly trotted back to the half way line, Sharp made a glancing headed backpass straight into his path. Rankin (30 yards from goal and with no chance of being caught) raced towards goal, but with embarrassingly poor control he inexplicably over-ran the ball and lost it to the keeper; Town were not to get another chance.

After that quick flurry Rochdale stepped up another gear and created lots of chances to extend their lead. Town were pushing up and Rochdale began to use their pace with too many balls over the top exposing our defence. From a Barnes goal-kick a routine header back through our defence put Sako clean through, but a despairing block by Whittle put him off before a scrambling Barnes got the ball away. From the resulting corner, a goalmouth scramble ensued before a home player shot over from within the six yard box corner and then with the move of the match, the home side stroking the ball right to left with quick one touch passing, their left back galloped forward into the area but shot wide with only Barnes to beat.

Town had some pressure towards the end, but didn't look like scoring and despite a decent amount of corners throughout, delivery from set pieces was generally poor all night.

Overall Town can have no complaints about the defeat. Rochdale played well above their position and could and should have scored more goals, but it was very disappointing that a previously winless team were that much better than Town with a higher tempo, crisper passing and more assured tactics.

The 4-3-3 formation never really worked and the midfield three seemed to struggle with their roles with none of them taking responsibility for getting in the opposition box or for helping out the defence. On too many occasions Croft, Jones and Bore would work a position on the right but then had minimal players in the box to cross for.

Town's man of the match was probably Nick Fenton. The Town defence endured a pretty tough night and with the home side's midfield running the game, Fenton was called on time and again and coped pretty well with the quick and awkward front two.

With another away game at Chester on Saturday, Town have a quick opportunity to get some goals and points in the away column.

To see the player ratings by Kevin click HERE

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