Rochdale 0, York City 0

York Press: Russell Penn watches his effort go wide. Picture:Gordon Clayton Russell Penn watches his effort go wide. Picture:Gordon Clayton

DON’T Look Back In Anger was inevitably included in Rochdale’s rousing 20th anniversary Oasis Day celebrations for the visit of York City.

And Noel Gallagher’s pre-match sentiments could quite easily have been echoed in both dressing rooms prior to kick off, given each side’s determination to play out 90 minutes with no regrets.

For a City team, already deprived of the services of Josh Carson and Wes Fletcher for the rest of the season, the loss for this game of Ben Davies – the only recognised left back on the Bootham Crescent books – will have led many to question whether a trip to Sky Bet League Two’s table-toppers would signal the start of a slide away from the division’s play-off positions.

But Tom Allan’s surprise selection in place of Davies, following a run of five months without a first-team appearance, proved every member of the Minstermen’s squad are all part of Nigel Worthington’s masterplan.

Another clean sheet also edged his team closer to setting a record that could live forever in the club’s record books.

Seven successive shut-outs have left on-loan keeper Nick Pope and his back four just one short of City’s longest-ever sequence – set in 1985.

Having kept the division’s leading scorers at bay, Worthington’s men certainly passed the stiffest examination of their defensive credentials at Spotland on Saturday.

Pope’s handling and judgement off his line was again immaculate and he also made a couple of crucial saves as the hosts threatened in the final quarter.

But, despite the game resembling an attack v defence training drill for long periods – other than a 15-minute spell early in the second half when City matched Dale’s possession levels – Pope faced few other shots.

That was largely testament, once more, to the anticipation and positional sense of talismanic centre-backs Keith Lowe and John McCombe, who wasted no time clearing their lines, lofting the ball high in the sky, into touch or down field.

Incredibly, almost 19 hours of football have passed since the Minstermen were last breached in open play and, until the second-half introduction of Rochdale top-scorer Scott Hogan, the home side’s opportunities were largely limited to set-piece situations.

The majority of those were conceded down City’s left during a first half in which teenager Allen made a tentative return to the fold.

Home keeper Josh Lillis, meanwhile, did not make a single save in 90 minutes with the visitors only mustering two off-target goal attempts all afternoon.

Ryan Brobbel dragged a 25-yard effort wide of Lillis’ near post on 12 minutes either side of Oliver Lancashire headers that cleared the City crossbar following Ian Henderson free kicks.

Winger Henderson also lifted an edge-of-the-box effort too high and provided a corner that saw Peter Vincenti miss the target with another header.

It took 43 minutes for the game’s first save with Pope beating away a curling Matt Done free kick.

Aside from Brobbel’s shot, Ryan Bowman falling down under a home challenge in the penalty box was City supporters’ only other real cause for first-half excitement but referee Kevin Wright probably rightly waved play on.

After the break, League Two Player of the Month Jamie Allen’s rising drive was caught by Pope early on but, little by little, City started to make their presence felt.

Other than a glancing Bowman header that bounced almost half a world away from Lillis’ goal, however, Worthington’s men failed to threaten the home net and Hogan’s introduction from the bench, after a month on the sidelines due to injury, reinvigorated the league leaders.

On 73 minutes, Pope dived low to his right to keep out Matthew Lund’s 15-yard drive and then recovered in time to grasp the loose ball as Graham Cummins waited to pounce.

Next, the on-loan Charlton net-minder made a flying dive in the opposite direction to push out Hogan’s curling shot.

Hogan also saw a far-post header clip the outside of Pope’s left-hand upright, although the 19-goal marksman was subsequently flagged offside.

Former Norwich and Colchester forward Henderson went on to bend an 88th-minute chance wide as City held out for a ninth goal-less draw of the season.

While some might say the Minstermen currently lack the firepower to sustain their play-off push, having looked like the team were going nowhere for long spells this season, most fans are just happy to roll with it now, see their side soldier on and, hopefully, keep the dream alive until Scunthorpe on May 3.

As for the wily Worthington, ask him now if his side can stay in the top seven and he is likely to answer “definitely maybe”.


Match facts

York City

Nick Pope: made saves at crucial times and dominated his penalty box with usual assurance. 8

Lanre Oyebanjo: rarely joined in attacks but worked hard to keep tabs on the lively Henderson. 7

Keith Lowe: STAR MAN – put one foot wrong with a trip but otherwise just about flawless. 9

John McCombe: cleared his lines without hesitation and never looked troubled by the home side. 8

Tom Allan: nervy start but grew in belief after break and responded to playing in front of City’s fans. 7

Ryan Brobbel: provided only real goal threat, willing to run at the opposition when given the ball. 7

Russell Penn: dispossessed in dangerous positions on occasions but battled away until the end. 7

Adam Reed: largely limited to defensive duties as he scrapped for the team and rarely seen in final third. 7

Will Hayhurst: tracked back with discipline and determination but distribution let him down on occasions. 7

Ryan Bowman: held the ball up when needed, but did not really stretch Dale’s back four with movement. 7

Michael Coulson: did not make an attacking impression but harried and hassled to defend from front. 7

Subs: Calvin Andrew 7 – competitive (for Hayhurst, 69), Lewis Montrose (for Reed, 84), Ryan Jarvis (for Bowman, 84). Not used: Tom Platt, David McGurk, Michael Ingham, Sander Puri.


Rochdale

Josh Lillis, Joe Rafferty, Oliver Lancashire, Rhys Bennett, Matt Done, Peter Vincenti (Graham Cummins, 71), Peter Cavanagh, Matt Lund, Jamie Allen, Ian Henderson, Joe Bunney (Scott Hogan, 63). Subs not used: Robbie Thomson, Ashley Eastham, Jason Kennedy, George Donnelly, Michael Rose.

Star man: Bennett – proved a muscular and tough adversary.


Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire).

Rating: 8/10 – kept on top of most things.

Booked: Done 40, Rafferty 58, Lowe 81.

Attendance: 3,830.

Shots on target: Rochdale 5, City 0 Shots off target: Rochdale 5, City 2.

Corners: Rochdale 10, City 2.

Fouls conceded: Rochdale 9, City 7.

Offsides: Rochdale 1, City 0.

Comments (9)

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12:32pm Mon 7 Apr 14

DavidBu says...

This was a great game, in spite of us being up against the cosh the whole time.
Pope was magnificent; this was a 10/10 showing and each of his many tremendous moves had its own individuality built into it .Had Ingham played (and absolutely no disrespect meant by this...) and had a poor game this would have been a massacre; had he played and had a very good game it would have been 2 or 3 to nil.
This game, the first I've seen since the home victory against Scunthorpe, was a 6 0 drumming, but without the goals. That's one interpretation; the other is this: Rochdale looked like a Championship side, at times. By the end, each time we very quickly and easily lost possession again, Rochdale were good for 20 slick passes. But, we kept our shape at the back, in spite of extreme provocation and defended like trojans.
A little while ago, I suggested that York might get the draw at Rochdale and that, then, the momentum would have to be kept up to the end. It is, I would say, just like that now. After 6 straight wins, was it, two great goalless draws against a very good and, then, a great side, represents a brilliant consolidation. Now comes the crunch. The attack has to prevail again and immediately. We have to beat Accrington and look convincing, next weekend and, then, we're going to be on for it. I just wish I could be at BC for that! It may be that I'll be left trying to badger another York fan living in East Anglia to drive us up to Scunthorpe for the last listed match, if it's then in the balance.
Finally, harping back to another of my recent threads: I reckon there were between 900 and 1200 of us at Rochdale (does anyone actually know?) and I would love to hope that we get close to a sell out at home next Saturday. Come on York and all those York fans. Next game, this is it.
This was a great game, in spite of us being up against the cosh the whole time. Pope was magnificent; this was a 10/10 showing and each of his many tremendous moves had its own individuality built into it .Had Ingham played (and absolutely no disrespect meant by this...) and had a poor game this would have been a massacre; had he played and had a very good game it would have been 2 or 3 to nil. This game, the first I've seen since the home victory against Scunthorpe, was a 6 0 drumming, but without the goals. That's one interpretation; the other is this: Rochdale looked like a Championship side, at times. By the end, each time we very quickly and easily lost possession again, Rochdale were good for 20 slick passes. But, we kept our shape at the back, in spite of extreme provocation and defended like trojans. A little while ago, I suggested that York might get the draw at Rochdale and that, then, the momentum would have to be kept up to the end. It is, I would say, just like that now. After 6 straight wins, was it, two great goalless draws against a very good and, then, a great side, represents a brilliant consolidation. Now comes the crunch. The attack has to prevail again and immediately. We have to beat Accrington and look convincing, next weekend and, then, we're going to be on for it. I just wish I could be at BC for that! It may be that I'll be left trying to badger another York fan living in East Anglia to drive us up to Scunthorpe for the last listed match, if it's then in the balance. Finally, harping back to another of my recent threads: I reckon there were between 900 and 1200 of us at Rochdale (does anyone actually know?) and I would love to hope that we get close to a sell out at home next Saturday. Come on York and all those York fans. Next game, this is it. DavidBu
  • Score: 18

12:43pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Peppa07 says...

Someone on another thread said there were 944 at Spotland. Felt and sounded like a lot more to me!
Pope was brilliant and clear MoM for me!
I agree the home supporters should pack BC to bursting point in these last three home games. It'll be a real disappointment if the gates aren't substantially up on our home average.
Someone on another thread said there were 944 at Spotland. Felt and sounded like a lot more to me! Pope was brilliant and clear MoM for me! I agree the home supporters should pack BC to bursting point in these last three home games. It'll be a real disappointment if the gates aren't substantially up on our home average. Peppa07
  • Score: 10

12:57pm Mon 7 Apr 14

GetCarlos says...

Wll done on eleven Oasis song titles in the article.

At least we have no FLASHBAX of last seasons relegation battle and having been ALL AROUND THE WORLD without conceding, to BE HERE NOW in the playoffs, its GETTING BETTER MAN but I guess its an IDLER DREAM to STEP OUT at Wembley again. just hope MY BIG MOUTH doesnt jinx us ... D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN???
Wll done on eleven Oasis song titles in the article. At least we have no FLASHBAX of last seasons relegation battle and having been ALL AROUND THE WORLD without conceding, to BE HERE NOW in the playoffs, its GETTING BETTER MAN but I guess its an IDLER DREAM to STEP OUT at Wembley again. just hope MY BIG MOUTH doesnt jinx us ... D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN??? GetCarlos
  • Score: -9

1:10pm Mon 7 Apr 14

ian923 says...

944 City fans at Rochdale. Gary Mills Gateshead are in a play off place in the Conference and had 705 at a home game on Saturday. I thought they liked their football in the North East!
944 City fans at Rochdale. Gary Mills Gateshead are in a play off place in the Conference and had 705 at a home game on Saturday. I thought they liked their football in the North East! ian923
  • Score: 6

2:35pm Mon 7 Apr 14

paddymacwakey says...

the support at Rochdale was absolutely fantastic.they never stopped singing,chanting,cla
pping.they are definitely yorks twelth man.please please please,get the prices dropped for the last 3 crucial home games kid for a quid,with an adult lets get the crescent rocking.we just need to start banging a few goals in.carson and fletcher are huge losses to the team,but as nigel says we have just to get on with it.if and should I say when we make the play offs,we should fear no one.puri once again sat on the bench.not spot the ball,but spot the player.it was shaq McDonald having a kick about with the team at Rochdale prior to kick off.
the support at Rochdale was absolutely fantastic.they never stopped singing,chanting,cla pping.they are definitely yorks twelth man.please please please,get the prices dropped for the last 3 crucial home games kid for a quid,with an adult lets get the crescent rocking.we just need to start banging a few goals in.carson and fletcher are huge losses to the team,but as nigel says we have just to get on with it.if and should I say when we make the play offs,we should fear no one.puri once again sat on the bench.not spot the ball,but spot the player.it was shaq McDonald having a kick about with the team at Rochdale prior to kick off. paddymacwakey
  • Score: -4

4:08pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Pitbull Terry says...

Very accurate assessment from Dave Flett. Spot on report.
Very accurate assessment from Dave Flett. Spot on report. Pitbull Terry
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Phil, Leeds says...

I guess there'll be around 4,200 for the game v Accrington. Probably now time for a change up front with either Jarvis or Andrew coming in to replace Bowman. Andrew looks a powerful target man who might give Coulson something more to play off and Jarvis is just one of those strikers who can sniff out a goal. Just need some better quality delivery from Hayhurst and Brobbel into the box and Coulson/Jarvis will deliver. Three points on Saturday will be a huge step to securing a play off place.
I guess there'll be around 4,200 for the game v Accrington. Probably now time for a change up front with either Jarvis or Andrew coming in to replace Bowman. Andrew looks a powerful target man who might give Coulson something more to play off and Jarvis is just one of those strikers who can sniff out a goal. Just need some better quality delivery from Hayhurst and Brobbel into the box and Coulson/Jarvis will deliver. Three points on Saturday will be a huge step to securing a play off place. Phil, Leeds
  • Score: 4

7:04pm Mon 7 Apr 14

OLD - HEAD says...

I also think that Pope should be 10/10, the rest are about right. Great support at Rochdale from the City fans. Credit to the Rochdale fans who joined in with their humour. I agree that we must focus on scoring goals in our remaining three home games, those games are going to be vital, and we need to win them.
I also think that Pope should be 10/10, the rest are about right. Great support at Rochdale from the City fans. Credit to the Rochdale fans who joined in with their humour. I agree that we must focus on scoring goals in our remaining three home games, those games are going to be vital, and we need to win them. OLD - HEAD
  • Score: 5

9:29pm Mon 7 Apr 14

nudger says...

I thought all of our side were outstanding defensively on Saturday,and was really impressed by the way the senior players helped Tom Allan through his understandably nervous start to give such a strong second half display. Thrown in to crucial games at Sixfields last season and again on Saturday will be truly character-forming for Tom.

Cavanagh and Allen in midfield were very good for Rochdale and if Hogan starts the remaining games they will win the league .None of our remaining games,even in the play offs, will be as tough as this was.

If Davies doesn't recover NW also has the option to play Hayhurst at left back, as he is so good defensively,,Coulson on the wing and bring in another striker. I would stick with Ryan Bowman who did very well and won a lot of his headers,against decent centre backs.
Obviously difficult to call but Oxford and Southend run-ins look the toughest whilst Plymouth's looks the most favourable.A Newport win against the Mariners tomorrow would be very useful. Game on!
I thought all of our side were outstanding defensively on Saturday,and was really impressed by the way the senior players helped Tom Allan through his understandably nervous start to give such a strong second half display. Thrown in to crucial games at Sixfields last season and again on Saturday will be truly character-forming for Tom. Cavanagh and Allen in midfield were very good for Rochdale and if Hogan starts the remaining games they will win the league .None of our remaining games,even in the play offs, will be as tough as this was. If Davies doesn't recover NW also has the option to play Hayhurst at left back, as he is so good defensively,,Coulson on the wing and bring in another striker. I would stick with Ryan Bowman who did very well and won a lot of his headers,against decent centre backs. Obviously difficult to call but Oxford and Southend run-ins look the toughest whilst Plymouth's looks the most favourable.A Newport win against the Mariners tomorrow would be very useful. Game on! nudger
  • Score: 2

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