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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Rochdale vs Swindon Town

We look ahead to our next League Two fixture as The Robins journey to Spotland…

16 March 2023

Swindon Town journey to Rochdale this weekend in search of a first win in three as they bid to get their play-off bid back on track.

Dale currently prop up the rest of the table but will certainly prove a big test for a Town side seeking to get back to winning ways.

Here’s a look at tomorrow’s opposition in a little more depth…


Founded in the year of 1907, Rochdale entered the Lancashire Combination, and won the Division One title in 1910/11 and 1911/12 after securing promotion out of Division Two the season before.

A switch to the Central League followed before the club was invited into the Football League when the Third Division North was created in 1921.

The Dale remained in the league for 47 years, but were relegated out of the new Nationwide Third Division in 1959.

The club reached the 1962 League Cup Final and secured promotion out of the fourth tier in 1968/69.

Another relegation followed in 1974, and they remained at the fourth level of English football for 36 seasons after unsuccessful play-off campaigns in 2002, 2008 and 2009.

The club finally secured promotion in 2009/10 and following relegation in 2012, were again promoted out of League Two in 2013/14, but saw themselves go back down in 2020/21.

The Stadium…

Rochdale play their home games at Spotland, or the Crown Oil Arena as it’s currently known for sponsorship reasons.

The stadium was officially opened in 1920 and was used exclusively by Rochdale for the first 68 years of its existence.

From 1988 to 2016, the ground was jointly owned by the football club, Rochdale Council and rugby league outfit, Rochdale Hornets.

In 2016 Rochdale bought the stadium shares they did not hold to own one hundred per cent.

Previous meetings…

The league reverse this term saw Swindon pick up a comfortable 3-0 victory at SN1 when the pair met last August.

Jonny Williams netted a brace before Harry McKirdy rounded off the scoring that day to earn Town the spoils.

Previous to that though, Swindon haven’t fared too well against The Dale over the past few years, winning just one of their previous five meetings.

Last season, it finished goalless at Spotland back in April, with the two sides drawing again in October last year at The County Ground.

Ben Gladwin scored the opener on that day, with Jonny Williams netting a late equaliser three minutes into stoppage time to earn Town a point.

Rochdale picked up a 2-1 home victory in April 2021 when both sides were competing in League One, before Swindon grabbed a 3-1 win at SN1 earlier that season in September 2020, courtesy of goals from Tyler Smith, Matt Smith and Anthony Grant.

The last match up between the pair before that was November 2016, as Rochdale scored four at Spotland to claim a comprehensive win.

Their season thus far…

It’s been a somewhat challenging campaign for Rochdale this term, as they currently sit bottom of the table, four points adrift of Crawley Town directly above them.

Just one win in their last 11 certainly hasn’t helped their cause, although that victory was impressive as they defeated title challengers Stevenage on home turf at the beginning of the month.

You then have to go back to January 10 for their last win prior to that, which was a 2-1 victory over Bradford City at Valley Parade.

Scoring goals has proved one of the contributory factors to Dale’s struggles this term, with the second lowest conversion rate in the division.

They’ve netted just 29 times in their 36 league games, six more than the worst - Gillingham.

The boss: Jim Bentley

The 46-year-old took the reins at Spotland back in August last year, penning a two-year contract with the club.

A centre-back in his time, he spent the majority of his playing days at Morecambe, before taking over as their head coach to kick start his managerial career.

After joining them in May 2011, he spent eight years with The Shrimps before leaving in 2019.

In fact, following Paul Tisdale’s departure from Exeter City back in June 2016, Bentley became the longest serving manager in the top four tiers of English football, until he resigned in October of that year.

It was then on to AFC Fylde, but was dismissed by the National League North side despite guiding them to fourth, albeit 14-points off top spot.

Key players…

Winger Devante Rodney has been a vital cog in the Dale machine this term, and is currently their top scorer with eight to his name.

And there is certainly lots of experience in the ranks to call upon.

Forward Ian Henderson has been there and done it at the ripe old age of 38, but he certainly knows where the goal is. He’s netted six times this season in his second spell with the club.

When he last appeared for them, he racked up an impressive 112 strikes in 297 Dale appearances.

Defender Jim McNulty (38) and midfield duo Toumani Diagouraga (35) and Jimmy Keohane (32) make up some of the other more senior members of the squad.

There’s also striker Scott Quigley, who has scored five times since joining on loan from Stockport County.

While central midfielder Liam Kelly, right winger Danny Lloyd and attacking midfielder Tyrese Sinclair add flair and creativity to the side.


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