2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 7 – Tuesday 27 August 2019: Rochdale v Carlisle United
Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that as an only child I started reading because dad had control of the telly, which was good on the occasion there would be sport on, especially football. But I didn’t read novels, my main reading material were encyclopaedia, history books, football books and annuals. I later added the music press to my reading list. As you’ll appreciate, these sort of books are essentially facts and figure based, and I loved reading and absorbing them, even to the point of getting my dad to test me on what I could remember. At one stage I knew all the countries in the world, their capitals, their national flag, their currency, major towns and cities etc and in terms of my football recall, I knew all the winners of the First Division, FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup, UEFA Cup, Cup Winners Cup and of course the World Cup, along with goal scorers, home grounds, colours, and individual honours like caps and goals. Sad, I know, but that answers a lot of questions for a lot of people about me!
Anyway my dad used to test me, and we were doing football grounds this particular day. He started off easy-ish with First and Second division clubs, but he would always throw in an obscure one, and on this occasion, he asked, “Rochdale?”, immediately I said “Spotland”. “How the hell do you know that?” or words to that effect was my dad’s response.
Rochdale had perked my interest from being in one of those pub-quiz football questions, Name six clubs in the league whose name ends with “e”? (The others being, Crystal Palace, Plymouth Argyle, Port Vale, Morecambe, and Stevenage). I also have a penchant for teams with one name, Chelsea, Fulham, Stenhousemuir. Additionally, I like the history of teams with the suffix United as it usually means the formation from two teams, with Wanderers usually having an interesting history and I like the unusual ones like Wednesday, Alexandra, and North End. The other Rochdale connection was that there was also a song in the charts called It’s hard being a Cowboy in Rochdale, by Mike Harding, so I have always wanted to visit Spotland or the Crown Oil Arena as it is now called.
My chance came with a Carabao Cup (the League Cup in my youth) Second Round tie with Carlisle United. ‘Dale had progressed after a First Round victory over Bolton Wanderers 5-2 at home, with Carlisle United impressing in a 3-0 win at Championship side Barnsley. As is the norm for the League Cup, the game was midweek, giving me a fix of walking to a ground of an evening with floodlights in the distance drawing the fans to the ground.
Of the game itself, ‘Dale began brightly with Stephen Dooley seeing an effort saved after jinking past two defenders and they were ahead after eleven minutes when Aaron Morley struck a stunner past Adam Collin. Morley was prominent for the home side and was involved in a move five minutes later which saw him pick out Callum Camps, who nodded down to Done, but he could only drag his shot wide from outside the area. Rochdale doubled their advantage just after the half hour mark. A ball forward wasn’t cleared by the United defence, with the wayward clearance falling to Done who did well to break into the Carlisle box, finishing calmly into the bottom corner in a one-on-one situation with ‘keeper Collin. Into the second half and ‘Dale had the better chances with Morley and Dooley having efforts to further extend the lead. Carlisle made a double-substitution on fifty-three minutes which sparked the visitors into life. One of those, Harry McKirdy got Carlisle back in the game when he won a penalty with nineteen minutes remaining, which was converted by Bridge. This gave United the impetus going into the final period of the game and Sanchez in the Rochdale goal had to be at his best on a couple of occasions to keep the visitors at bay. However, ‘Dale hung on and earned a lucrative Third Round tie at Old Trafford against Manchester United, where they weren’t disgraced, going out 5-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1.
Tuesday 27 August 2019
Carabao Cup – Second Round
Rochdale 2 (Morley 11’, Done 31’) Carlisle United 1 (Bridge 71’ pen)
Rochdale: Sanchez, Matheson, O’Connell, Magloire, Keohane, Ryan (Pyke 63’), Morley, Dooley (Rathbone 68’), Camps, Done (McLaughlin 86’), Andrew
Unused Substitutes: Norrington-Davies, Delaney, Lynch, Henderson
Carlisle United: Collin, Elliott, Webster, Knight-Percival, Iredale, Bridge, Jones (Carroll 53’), Scougall, Thomas, Olomola (Sorenson 64’), Hope (McKirdy 53’)
Unused Substitutes: Mellish, Gray, Branthwaite, Loft