Report: Rochdale 1-0 Bolton
Wanderers succumbed to a narrow defeat at the hands of neighbours Rochdale after Steven Davies’ second-half strike proved to be enough to seal all three points for the hosts.
Through a combination of injury and illness, Phil Parkinson was forced into making four changes from the side that drew with Bradford City at Macron Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors shaded the first-half but were lacking a clinical edge throughout the contest which saw Dale hold on to their slender lead despite a late rally towards the end.
Phil Parkinson made four changes with Keshi Anderson, Chris Taylor, Tom Thorpe and Lawrie Wilson coming in for Sammy Ameobi, Josh Vela, Mark Beevers and Lewis Buxton.
Thorpe, on loan from Rotherham, was making his first start in Wanderers colours as the visitors aimed to return to winning ways at the Crown Oil Arena.
Over 3,000 Wanderers fans packed the away end at the Crown Oil Arena to help fuel an intense atmosphere for this rarely-contested Lancashire derby.
The early stages didn’t offer any attacking threat for the crowd as both sides settled into their strides.
The hosts had the encounter’s first effort, but it was only a half-chance. Joe Thompson whipped in a teasing cross but it was sufficiently cleared by the Wanderers backline.
The visitors responded with Chris Taylor seeing his deflected looping effort fall into the grateful grasp of Josh Lillis.
A gilt-edged chance soon befell Wanderers and James Henry will be ruing the fact that he didn’t make Jamie Proctor’s centre count. The frontman put in a fine looking cross from the left hand side with Henry beating Dale’s defence at the far post to latch on to a volley. However, the on-loan midfielder was off target with the opportunity.
The pair linked up once again moments later which resulted in Henry’s shot deflecting for a corner.
Dale were forced into making an early substitution with the injured captain Ian Henderson being replaced by Steven Davies.
Wanderers were now starting to put their foot on the ball and taking control of the game. Again, following on from Saturday’s draw against Bradford at Macron Stadium, the defence looked solid and coped with Rochdale’s rare incursions into the final third.
Dale were losing their discipline and Matthew Lund was shown a yellow for a poorly-timed challenge on Moxey, who was left writhing in agony.
As the half wore on, Dale were enjoying more possession but Wanderers held firm leaving Mark Howard with little to do.
Dale had Lillis to thank for keeping them level on the cusp of half-time as he dived to his right to keep out Jay Spearing’s 20-yard low drive.
Dale took the lead shortly after the restart – against the context of the game – thanks to substitute Davies’ curling effort sailing into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
The hosts should have doubled their advantage moments later with Jamie Allen’s glancing header coming off the foot of Howard’s post.
It was an energetic start from Rochdale with Wanderers struggling to find their rhythm.
In an effort to get Wanderers immediately back into the contest, Phil Parkinson made a double attacking substitution with Zach Clough and Sammy Ameobi coming on for Keshi Anderson and Chris Taylor. With half an hour of the game remaining, the duo were given plenty of time to make a positive impact on Wanderers’ fortunes.
But it was at the other end were Wanderers’ luck held firm when Howard’s failure to catch a high ball into the box almost presented Dale a second. Somehow, the visitors, in the guise of Thorpe, managed to scramble away the danger.
Wanderers’ best chance of the game thus far fell to Henry, whose half-volley prompted a close-range parry from Lillis.
With ten minutes remaining, Wanderers were striving to salvage something from the game and Parkinson made his final change with Vela coming on for Wilson.
Henry, who appeared the most likely Wanderer to score, saw a late effort rebound painfully off the post before a frantic clearance from Dale’s desperate defence.