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Danger - Deep Water - Part 2

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 28/03/2010 (Last updated: 12/09/2010)

THAT £20 admission at Spotland hurts and had it not been for how crucial the games are now, I wouldn’t have bothered. I’ve said I wouldn’t come back here for years and hate myself more each year for meekly surrendering my hard earned.

Last year, we’d said we would leave at 3-0 down only for Town to go two down and then refuse to concede further so that we suffered the entire 90 minutes with. I think we conceded two quickly the year before as well, so there were no great expectations. Furthermore, I had memories of the keep ball that Rochdale played at BP which made me realise how other teams felt when the great Buckley sides were on form.

We lasted 17 minutes before a cross from the right connected with Joe Thompson’s head. He was completely unmarked along withy several other team mates. You could see the goal coming as soon as the cross was made. Not that we hadn’t had several warnings already. A low drive from Chris Dagnall as Town failed to clear meant the game was lost again within 20 minutes. Dale had Town beaten for pace throughout the half, won any lost ball back and had that enviable knack of finding their own players. Whilst Town were a shambles at the back, Dale were streets ahead in class and ability. I looked on enviously as the home fans celebrated, musing at how long it had been since I had gone to Town home games with the expectation of putting teams to the sword.

The 1000 plus following were obviously deflated by events and our thoughts turned to when we would cut our losses whilst reminiscing about what we would give for another day out at Molineux et al with the associated drinking atrocities on cross country trains to avoid booze bans. At least we’ve had some extended glory.

News that Luton were stuffing Hayes 6-0 (it finished 8-0) didn’t help matters or my ego given I’d been extolling their virtues about two minutes before. We may well be playing them next year which will seem strange given that several London based Town fans have had some good days out with them in the FA Cup.

Dagnall got Dale’s third just after 40 minutes after they’d overrun what passed for our defence and midfield on their left. When one on one with Colgan, he coolly put the ball past him. Whilst our defending was terrible, all three goals were very well taken in my opinion.

Now we had said we would go at 3-0 but there was a sense of curiosity that we might see a historic hammering and before we could get out of the ground, Chambers pulled one back and we were obliged to stay. Dale should have had a fourth just before the interval but Colgan was able to block on another one on one. Cue booing from some of Town’s fans on half time.

To be fair to Town, they took the game to Dale in periods of the second half although the few chances created were snatched at. An overhead kick attempt when doing the simple thing would have meant a goal summed it up. I noticed that our players aren’t looking where their colleagues are whereas Dale didn’t put themselves under such pressure. Along the half way line, a Dale player had managed to thread an inch perfect pass under pressure to the wing thus starting a move that led to a good chance. We were nowhere near that.

Rich was becoming exasperated with Sweeney, prompting him to shout "There’s no I in team but there is in pies!" in a dig at his lack of fitness and a great rework of that managerial jargon that infests my working life. Classic! So was the "Forty years is all it took" chant from the left side of our stand. All the more sweet for the Dale fans then.

Funny how Toner turns it on for them.

Thankfully, we left just before the fourth having made enquiries to Humberside Police about the most harmless way to get a banning order as these apply to the BSP now in response to Carlisle’s relegation some years ago. I’m only joking. Overall, we had a good day out, spoiled only by the football. I look forward to the Green ‘Un, the Sheffield area football paper on Saturday night, and was further dismayed to see Danny Boshell mithering on the Chesterfield page, continuing the Grimsby players’ long tradition of talking **** in the press. Is there no escape? Good to see Chesterfield’s automatic promotion bid becoming derailed though, although I’m sure it hasn’t got anything to do with the ex Grimsby contingent...

A last thought. As we entered Rochdale’s outskirts, we’d gone past a sewage plant which had a sign saying "Danger. Deep Water" I think it was something else that was deep, and Town are in it. Our rivals may have lost but no matter what their run-ins are, they have more points than us and we can’t afford performances like this in our remaining eight games.

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