AWAY END VERDICT: Rochdale vs Iron; Ryan Middleton’s Match Review

Image source: Damon Campion/ Scunthorpe United

Yesterday afternoon, the Iron picked up another point to add to the one they secured on the opening game of the season, when AFC Wimbledon came to North Lincolnshire.

The result added to the Carabao Cup success on Tuesday night against Notts County at Glanford Park, but where did yesterday’s performance lie compared to the other two matches?

I’m sure any Scunthorpe United fan would agree that yesterday was the best performance thus far, although still far from the finished product. The results so far have matched our performances, to a certain extent.

I think Wimbledon slightly edged the game last week, and we edged the game at Spotland yesterday, so overall I would say two league draws is a satisfactory way to begin the season.

We started positively early on in the match at Spotland, and was on the front foot for pretty much the whole half, with Josh Morris, Paddy Madden and Conor Townsend missing chances for the Iron.

Rochdale didn’t create any notable chance in the opening period, only half chances on the odd occasion.

I’m so pleased that Graham has gone back to the 4-4-2 system that worked so well last season, and since he changed the formation at half time against Notts County, we have actually looked like scoring goals and winning games.

It takes a good manager at any level to ask the players how to make things better, and give them a voice of opinion, and that is exactly what he did at half time against Notts County.

There was no need to change something that was already there, and I think the manager has realised that now and has taken action in the right way and was open about the chat he had with the fans after the match, which is fantastic to hear.

Throughout the game, I was massively impressed with the performances of Neal Bishop and Funso Ojo in the middle of the park, who both had a good balance and seemed to understand each other superbly.
They are both very different kinds of players; Bishop will make more of those important tackles, whereas Ojo will pull the strings and really make things happen.

In the second period, Rochdale did up their game and took the lead from a corner through Steven Davies.

I was very disappointed to see that goal go in, as the previous corner should have been defended a little better than it was.

Immediately after that, Matt Gilks was called into action to somehow tip Davies’s shot – which was heading into the top corner at some pace – over the bar. This proved to be a critical moment in the game.

On the hour mark, Alexander brought on two substitutions which turned the momentum back in the Iron’s favour. Tom Hopper and the lively Duane Holmes were the players that come on, in place of Morris and Kevin Van Veen.

Within a couple of minutes, the duo were both involved in the Iron’s equaliser as Hakeeb Adelakun played a defence splitting ball into the area which Hopper dummied, leaving Holmes to slot the ball past ex-Iron Josh Lillis to restore parity.

As the game reached the latter stages, it became fairly flat as both teams seemed very fatigued, however Ojo’s long range shot wasn’t far off late on.

A credible point away from home for United is a fair and simple way to sum the game up.

It is important to remember that Rochdale is a tough place for any team to visit; they had an incredible home record last season, which included beating us 3-2 when we were flying high at the top of the league.

Even at this early stage in the season, the point could be a crucial one come the end of the season. A point away from home in this league is always applaudable, as teams always make it difficult for you at their own stomping ground.

Having said that, the fact we all know to be true is that we were the team on top for the majority of the game, and that is promising moving forward.


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