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MATCH REPORT: Rochdale 4-4 Swindon Town

Charlie Austin nets four in crazy clash at Rochdale that sees hosts come back twice to earn draw…

18 March 2023

Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Rochdale 4-4 Swindon Town

Charlie Austin nets four in crazy clash at Rochdale that sees hosts come back twice to earn draw…

18 March 2023

Town forward Charlie Austin scored four times but was unable to steal the headlines as a defiant Rochdale came from behind twice to earn a point thanks to a stoppage time equaliser.

The Robins took a two goal lead after just 13-minutes, only for Devante Rodney and Danny Lloyd to level up, before Dale took a second half lead through Abraham Odoh.

But Town responded well with two more from Austin, only for veteran Ian Henderson to dash Swindon hopes in added time.

Jody Morris made two changes to the side that picked up a goalless draw at Walsall in midweek, with Luke Jephcott and Tyrese Shade having to settle for a place on the substitutes bench, paving the way for captain Charlie Austin and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy to return.

Morris would have called for a bright start from his side, and that’s exactly what he got with just two minutes on clock when The Robins opened the scoring.

Remeao Hutton worked his usual magic down the right side before sliding a cross into the box towards Charlie Austin, and with Dale captain Ethan Ebanks-Landell unable to intercept the ball with an outstretched foot, the Town marksman shifted the ball onto his right and drilled it low past Richard O’Donnell for 1-0.

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A huge early blow for the struggling hosts, who knew a victory was a must with Hartlepool picking up a valuable point at Bradford earlier in the day, responded well and created the games next two chances.

The first came on seven minutes, as Danny Lloyd swung in a perfectly weighted free-kick from the right which was met by the head of Ebanks-Landell, but although he got the power he wanted on his effort, he was unable to direct it on target.

Two minutes later Danny Lloyd was involved again as he gathered the ball and drove forward with the pitch opening up in front of him, but he opted to shoot from range rather than probe further forward, and Sol Brynn got down easily to scoop up the strike.

But things were to get worse for the home side as Swindon added a second on 14-minutes to give Jim Bentley’s charges an early mountain to climb.

Jonny Williams created space for himself in the centre of the park before slotting Rushian Hepburn-Murphy through, and the winger was able to outpace his marker and cross low from the by line where Charlie Austin was on hand to tap home and complete an early brace.

However, full credit to Dale whose endeavour finally paid off on 22-minutes as Ethan Brierley’s lofted ball saw Devante Rodney beat the offside trap and cleverly lob the ball past the onrushing Sol Brynn to halve the deficit.

And buoyed by reducing the arrears and the increase in noise from the home crowd, the hosts levelled the scores three minutes later, as Danny Lloyd, involved in pretty much everything the home side had created in the game, struck one from 25-yards which nestled into the top right hand corner, giving Brynn no chance.

Town were doing their best to force their way back into the tie in a bid to retake the lead, but were dealt a blow on 34-minutes when George McEachran, so impressive since his move to SN1, was forced off through injury, with Jake Cain coming on to replace him.

As we approached the 40-minute mark, Dale thought they’d taken the lead as another clever free-kick from Danny Lloyd found a team mate – this time in the shape of Max Taylor – who rose well to head past Sol Brynn, but the linesman raised his flag to cancel out the goal.

Then, just a minute later at the other end, Ebanks-Landell misjudged a Hepburn-Murphy cross and sliced it narrowly over his own crossbar, before Charlie Austin met a Remeao Hutton cross from the right from the resulting corner to head at goal, but it was far to straight and O’Donnell was able to catch with ease.

With a minute of normal time remaining, Owen Dodgson looked to follow in the footsteps of colleague Lloyd with a strike from distance of his own, but his effort fizzed narrowly over the bar.

Stoppage time arrived with two further chances for both as Abraham Odoh forced a good save with his legs from Brynn at his near post, before Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was handed a half-chance at the other end, but his shot from just inside the box wasn’t troubling Richard O’Donnell.

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That proved the last action of a truly frantic and highly entertaining first half, with Town no doubt ruing letting their two goal lead slip.

With such an open first 45, the neutral would have been hoping for more of the same in the second, but it wasn’t quite as hectic to begin with.

Although, just three minutes after the restart, Ronan Darcy sent a powerful strike from the edge of the Dale area narrowly wide of O’Donnell’s right hand post with the keeper stranded.

On 57-minutes, Marcel Lavinier then tried the same after the hosts failed to clear their lines, but his first-time, half volley spun wide of the right post.

The games next opportunity fell on 66-minutes, as Ethan Brierley won back possession in the centre of the park, but Dale’s counter ended with Danny Lloyd sending a curling effort high and wide of the target.

Morris made a triple change with Harrison Minturn, Tyrese Shade and Luke Jephcott entering the action, but there was hardly time for the threesome to settle into the game before the hosts took the lead on 71-minutes.

The tricky Abraham Odoh took it upon himself to drive forward into the Town box at pace before unleashing a low right-footed strike that beat the outstretched Brynn and rolled into the bottom left hand corner.

But Town reacted in perfect fashion by netting the equaliser three minutes later, as good work on the left by Jacob Wakeling saw him muscle his way to the by line and cut it across goal for Charlie Austin, and although his first attempt was well saved by O’Donnell, he was on hand to poke home with ease.

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The game then took another mad twist on 79-minutes, as Swindon took the lead again with Austin helping his and Town’s fourth of the afternoon.

Tyrese Shade weaved some magic to open up some space inside the Dale box, before sliding the ball into the path of Austin, and his first-time bending effort beat O’Donnell all ends up and landed perfectly into the top left hand corner of the net.

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On 84-minutes it was back to the other end as Rochdale sub D’Mani Mellor nodded narrowly wide of the right post, before Ronan Darcy forced O’Donnell to tip over a powerful drive three minutes later.

But then another late sucker punch for Jody Morris and his players as the hosts netted in the third minute of added time to draw level once again.

Substitute Ian Henderson stole in at the near post to convert a Liam Kelly corner from the left and place his effort between the post and Sol Brynn.

The chances weren’t done there though, and Dale could have stolen it right at the death.

After Tyrese Shade saw a powerful long range strike dip narrowly over the Rochdale bar with O’Donnell beaten, the hosts struck a post with just seconds remaining.

Confusion in the Town area saw the ball ricochet amongst a packed penalty box before the ball rebounded off the woodwork, and moments later, Max Taylor was found unmarked but sent his volley over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Town will wonder how they haven’t emerged from The Crown Oil Arena with all three points despite scoring four on the road, but Jody Morris and his charges are forced to settle for another point ahead of another testing fixture at home to Stockport next weekend.

MATCH INFORMATION:

Rochdale Line-up: 3-5-2

  1. Richard O’Donnell (GK) – 26. Toby Mullarkey, 5. Max Taylor, 6. Ethan Ebanks-Landell ©, 22. Owen Dodgson (2. Femi Seriki 85mins), 11. Abraham Odoh, 25. Danny Lloyd, 13. Jimmy Keohane (7. Liam Kelly 85mins), 14. Ethan Brierley, 10. Devante Rodney (9. D’Mani Mellor 69mins), 18. Scott Quigley (40. Ian Henderson 61mins).

Subs not used: 21. Jake Eastwood (GK) – 16. Rhys Bennett, 20. Toumani Diagouraga.

Scorers: Rodney 22, Lloyd 25, Odoh 71, Henderson 90+4

Yellow Cards: 22. Dodgson 63mins, 26. Mullarkey 90+4mins

Red Cards: None

Swindon Town Line-up: 4-1-2-3

  1. Sol Brynn (GK) – 22. Marcel Lavinier (31. Harrison Minturn 68mins), 4. Tom Clayton, 12. Tom Brewitt, 2. Remeao Hutton, 5. George McEachran (16. Jake Cain 35mins), 8. Jonathan Williams (15. Luke Jephcott 69mins), 10. Ronan Darcy, 24. Jacob Wakeling (21. Dylan Kadji 86mins), 19. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (28. Tyrese Shade 68mins), 11. Charlie Austin ©.

Subs not used: 41. Jack Copland (GK) – 9. Tomi Adeloye.

Scorers: Austin 2,14,74,79

Yellow Cards: 4. Clayton 90+4mins

Red Cards: None

HT: 2-2

Referee: Bobby Madden

Assistant Referees: Stephen Wade & Peter Gooch

Fourth Official: Oliver Bickle

Attendance: 2,611 (397 Town fans)


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