Rochdale 1-2 Stockport County – The Morning After

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Through to the second round of the FA Cup after beating a side two divisions higher. Second in the National League. Yeah, this Covid thing needs to bugger off sharpish. Another fantastic victory for County at the weekend, with a superb FA Cup giantkilling at Rochdale, which puts us just ninety minutes away from a possible trip to one of the Premier League big boys. Giving us their thoughts on Saturday’s game at Spotland are County fan Mark Love and Rochdale fan David Chaffey.

Photo courtesy of Mike Petch.

Yesterday’s match in one word:
Mark (County) – Businesslike.
David (Rochdale) – Frustrating.

Pre-match thoughts:
Mark (County) – Hoping for a win, even with Rochdale a couple of divisions above us. I’m always hoping for no injuries as well, as we’ve had more than a few already with this season going at one hell of a pace.
David (Rochdale) – I was hoping for and expecting a win but I also thought only having two days to prepare for the game because of the Chesterfield situation wasn’t going to be ideal. I still thought we’d have enough quality to win the game though.

Post-match thoughts:
Mark (County) – Brought back proud and happy memories of turning teams over from divisions above in the past, mixed with the most recent lunacy of Nuneaton (obviously I would never get involved in such behaviour).
David (Rochdale) – It was a frustrating result. We’ve had them before (FC United, Forest Green etc) but the FA Cup has been kind to us in recent years so to bow out at the first hurdle to a side two divisions below us was frustrating, but County defended brilliantly and you can’t exactly prepare or plan for Rooney’s opener can you? Congrats to Stockport; we need to put it behind us quickly and concentrate on staying in League One.

Verdict on County:
Mark (County) – Structure, professional with big flashes of brilliance, a great all round performance. There’s no ‘I’ in team, nor is there in John Rooney either.
David (Rochdale) – Well, if you didn’t know your football too well, you’d never have thought there were two divisions between the two sides. County wanted it more, came out of the blocks quickly and gave us a torrid time. Rooney’s goal was stunning and we were still reeling from that when the second went in. Thought Mark Kitching was superb and gave our full-back Jimmy Keohane the runaround to the point we had to swap him into midfield. Also thought Hogan and Palmer were outstanding in defence while Dale struggled to cope with Jennings at the other end. 

Verdict on Rochdale:
Mark (County) – Knowing several Dale fans, they were confident but wary. That wasn’t their best performance this year. Several players didn’t seem to be at the party.
David (Rochdale) – Don’t think we turned up until we were 2-0 down by which time we had a mountain to climb and couldn’t quite manage it. A lot of endeavour to get the equaliser but couldn’t break through. Lacking a goal threat up front which has been the case all season unfortunately. Poor performance and didn’t deserve to win the game.

Best County player:
Mark (County) – Rooney, and not just for the goal. Followed extremely closely by Big Ben with some outstanding close-range saves.
David (Rochdale) – Palmer or Hogan.

Best Rochdale player:
Mark (County) – Alex Newby, albeit dealt with well by us. His ability is blossoming since moving from Chorley.
David (Rochdale) – Probably Eoghan O’Connell, our captain. He came out of defence with the ball trying to create something and defended well too.

Atmosphere:
Mark (County) – Originally front room with a small Stella stash next to me, accompanied by the ever louder mini-me. However, couldn’t get the stream on Virgin for some reason, so resorted to home office. Regardless, I’d have sat on the floor for that result.
David (Rochdale) – Living room with my girlfriend and 7-year-old, both of whom are Dale supporters. I spent all week wishing I could have gone to the game but was then glad I couldn’t!

Hopes for the rest of the season:
Mark (County) – A good run in the FA Cup, but without sacrificing any league points for it. We still need to aim for top spot. Torquay have started well, but injuries and congestion of fixtures can take their toll.
David (Rochdale) – Hopes remain the same, avoid relegation, which is still the case regardless of the defeat. Would hope that we can work on how to break down defences though and find different ways to do that.

Mark (County) – Can I just give a big shoutout to my good mate Del Marks who got that excited on Saturday morning that he booked and paid for Rochdale’s next league game by accident.

And here’s a few other bits and bobs…..

Next up: It’s the County derby at Meadow Lane on Wednesday night, as the ones from Stockport travel to the ones from Nottingham. Rochdale take on Salford City at Spotland in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

Trivia: A fourth consecutive victory at Spotland for County. It’s been a happy hunting ground for us in recent years, with some memorable moments as well, such as Rooney’s worldy, Ashley Williams’ screamer and Jermaine Easter’s overhead kick.

Shame about Covid: That Metrolink back into Piccadilly would have been bouncing, wouldn’t it? There’s obviously something serious going on in the world at the moment, but it’s a shame to be missing special days like this at the moment. Not to mention being able to watch that Rooney stunner in the flesh. If you’d reading this John, you’ll have to do that again when fans are allowed back in.

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