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Report: Rochdale 2-2 Town

30 April 2016

17-year-old Will Henry had a debut to remember as he helped nine-man Town earn a point in a 2-2 draw at Rochdale.

Goals from Jon Obika and Nathan Thompson had given the visitors the perfect start but the Dale pulled back two goals either side of the break.

With Jake Kean failing a fitness test ahead of kick-off, young scholar Will Henry was drafted in between the sticks at Spotland. There were also recalls for Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Anton Rodgers while scholars, Jordan Young and Scott Twine were named among the substitutes. 

Town couldn’t have hoped for a better start: with barely a minute gone, Jon Obika found the net to put the visitors in front. A marauding run forward from Ormonde-Ottewill ended with him slipping the ball through for Obika who swept the pass into the far corner.

Luke Williams’ side could have doubled their advantage shortly afterwards when Obika lifted James Brophy’s cut-back over the crossbar.

After a quite opening period for the youngster, Henry made himself an instant hero with the travelling fans. Henderson was clipped in the box and Dale were awarded a spot kick. The striker picked himself up and took responsibility for the kick, only to be denied by a fine save from Henry who threw himself to his left to beat the ball away.

The young stopper then produced a superb save to deny Joe Bunney from close range. The striker found himself with a clear shot on goal but Henry somehow got across to get his body in the way and clear the danger. Henry was called upon once again before the interval to keep out a header from close range.

Josh Lillis had to be alert to keep out Anton Rodgers’ goal-bound free kick. 

As the clock ticked over the 45-minute mark, the visitors doubled their advantage through Nathan Thompson. On his 150th Town appearance, the skipper got the better of his marker to head in Michael Doughty’s free-kick. 

The first half action was not finished there. Almost immediately from the re-start, Jamie Allen cracked in a shot from distance that flew into the top corner.

Town had the better of the early exchanges in the first half with Rodgers and Ormonde-Ottewill both getting shots away while Jon Obika was denied a shooting opportunity by an excellent covering tackle.

The visitors’ task was made harder with an hour gone when Louis Thompson was shown his second yellow card of the afternoon and Swindon were reduced to ten men.

With just over twenty minutes to play, Rochdale made their man advantage count and they drew level through substitute, Matt Lund. A cross was swung over from the Dale right towards the far post where Lund was poised to head the ball into the back of the net. 

After weathering a spell of pressure, Town began to carve out chances of their own. Nicky Ajose twice went close – firstly he curled a free-kick goalwards that clipped the woodwork on its way wide before doing superbly to ghost past three defenders and crack a shot inches wide of the upright.

Swindon were reduced to nine men inside the final ten minutes when Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill was shown a straight red card after tangling with Grant Holt.

Despite creating chances towards the end of the game, the hosts couldn’t find a way through and the Town held on to record a point in their final away day of the season.

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