Opposition: Rochdale AFC
Managed by: Robbie Stockdale
Competition: Sky Bet League Two Match Eleven
Date: Saturday October 9, 3pm
Tickets for this fixture will be priced as follows:
Senior (65+): £17
Young person (U21): £14
Junior (U11): £7
Tickets can be purchased on the day at Rochdale with cash only.
Rochdale have adapted to life in League Two fairly well over the last few months, following their relegation from League One. The Dale sit two places and two points below Crawley after ten games in 16th place. Like Crawley, and unlike our last league opponents in Tranmere Rovers, Rochdale have not struggled for goals this season, but have also conceded more than an average of one per game.
Rochdale’s matches so far have averaged 2.5 goals per game, just lower than Crawley’s 2.8. Crawley have scored one more goal than Dale on 13, but have conceded two more (15) despite having two more points on the board. Robbie Stockdale’s side started the season slowly, losing out on the opening day to high-flying Harrogate Town, 3-2. Will Burrell of the Sulphurites netted in injury time to steal the point from Rochdale, who then hosted struggers Scunthorpe and drew 0-0 to earn their first point. Forest Green were next and goals from in-form strikers Jamille Matt and Matty Stevens were enough to overpower Alex Newby’s effort, as the game ended 1-2 to the Green Army.
After three games without a win, Rochdale hit a remarkable run of form. The Dale shocked Northampton with a 1-3 scoreline away from home thanks to goals from youngsters Max Taylor, Josh Andrews and Abraham Odoh, who average an age of 20. Momentum picked up quickly as the Dale went on to defeat League One Shrewsbury in the Carabao Cup, before drawing to Colchester 1-1.
The Greater Manchester side then defeated Liverpool U21 by four goals before then picking up a magnificent six points with wins over Port Vale and Tranmere Rovers. Jake Beesley’s brace and Corey O’Keeffe’s effort were enough to overpower Jamie Proctor’s double in a 2-3 victory at Vale Park. Danny Cashman, on loan from Coventry City, scored Rochdale’s only goal in a 1-0 home win over the Rovers.
The Dale claimed a point away at Mansfield Town in a 1-1 draw, but since have played four in all competitions, and after remaining undefeated for seven games, are now winless in four. Rochdale spiralled out of the Carabao Cup in the third round after losing 4-1 to Premier League Burnley, before later losing out to local rivals Oldham Athletic by a single goal at home. A trip to Bradford City was next and despite sharing more possession of the ball, Alex Gilliead and Andy Cook’s goals sealed a 2-0 victory for the Bantams, who bounced back after losing out to the Reds at The People’s Pension Stadium. Rochdale then returned to Vale Park in the Papa John’s Trophy, but this time losing out to a 93rd minute own-goal to lose 1-0.
ONES TO WATCH
Danny Cashman is a dangerous, pacey forward who can play anywhere across the front line. Cashman has recently been occupying a left-forward role alongside Jake Beesley as the central striker, and has three goals to his name so far this season. The 20-year-old mainly featured as a substitute in his first month at the club, but has since transformed into a regular starter after impressing on that left side of attack.
Cashman was a product of Brighton & Hove Albion’s academy, similar to the likes of Tom Dallison, Archie Davies and James Tilley of Crawley. Cashman excelled in the Premier League 2 last season, and was nominated for April’s Player of the Month award. The forward scored twelve goals and claimed eleven assists for Albion’s U23s, but was let go at the end of last season, with Coventry City coming in quick to snap him up, soon loaning him to Rochdale.
Cashman grew up and went to school in Crawley, and will be looking to make an impression on his most local club.
Eoghan O’Connell has enjoyed a strong start to the 2021/22 season, sitting at the heart of the Rochdale defence as their number six. Since being left out of the squad for the Dale in their opening game against Harrogate Town, the Irishman has played 90 minutes in every league game, becoming a crucial unit of their three-man defence, a formation they converted to after opening day defeat.
O’Connell isn’t shy of picking up a yellow card, receiving three in his last six games, after being shown eight in the league last season. Before his move to Rochdale in 2019, Eoghan spent two seasons with Bury, and six months with Walsall after being loaned from Celtic in 2017. The defender spent six years at the Bhoys, spending time out on loan for the majority of his stay there, enjoying spells with Oldham Athletic and Cork City before Walsall. The 26-year-old made seven league appearances for Celtic and was part of four Championship winning squads.
Jake Beesley has been a critical part of the Dale’s attack so far this season, scoring twice and assisting once in league action, but also scoring two from two in the Carabao Cup. Beesley has recently been deployed as a central forward figure, with the likes of Danny Cashman and Abraham Odoh playing wide off of him.
The 24-year-old was signed from Solihull Moors in the summer of 2020, but only managed six goals in 27 appearances in League One last season, as the Dale were relegated.
Beesley spent time at Chesterfield before moving to non-league Salford City in 2018, where he was then loaned to Boston United. Another loan spell from the Ammies was to Bradford Park Avenue, before yet another loan to Solihull Moors turned permanent in 2020.
HEAD TO HEAD
Due to Rochdale’s long-term run in League One, the two sides have not met since January of 2015. Crawley made the trip to the Crown Oil Arena in third division action more than six years ago, but were outclassed by a strong Dale side. Ian Henderson, who scored Salford’s opener at The People’s Pension Stadium earlier this season in a 2-1 home victory, netted a brace in a 4-1 home win over the Reds, as goals from Scott Tanser and Calvin Andrew completed the four to Crawley’s one which was scored by Marvin Elliott.
Crawley hosted the Dale that very season in September 2019, but again were struck for four in a dominant away performance. This time it was Peter Vincenti with the brace with the other two goals being converted by Matt Done, who still remains at Rochdale, and Calvin Andrew once again.