Rochdale 0-0 Blackpool: Seasiders maintain unbeaten start to League One season with goalless draw
Blackpool maintained their unbeaten start to the League One season with a goalless draw away at Rochdale.
Chances were few and far between but the Seasiders were the better side, coming close to breaking the deadlock on two or three occasions.
Armand Gnanduillet thought he had scored in the first half when he sent a rocket header hurtling towards goal, only to be denied by a wonder save.
Sullay Kaikai and Jordan Thompson both came close in the second half, but the Seasiders thought they had won it at the death when James Husband’s deflected cross hit the inside of the post before being cleared off the line.
But Simon Grayson’s men were eventually forced to settle for a second consecutive draw in the league.
Rochdale were kept at arm's length throughout and Pool were rarely ever threatened at the back, as they kept their second clean sheet of the campaign.
Pool drop down to second courtesy of Ipswich Town’s thrashing of beleaguered Bolton Wanderers.
James Husband returned from his three-man suspension to take his spot back in the side as one of two changes from Tuesday night’s draw at Gillingham.
Callum Guy was the other man to come into the starting 11, replacing Nathan Delfouneso who missed out with a hamstring injury he suffered in the midweek clash.
Rocky Bushiri dropped down to the bench, where he was joined by yesterday’s signing Ben Heneghan and returning striker Joe Nuttall, who recovered from a calf strain.
Jimmy Ryan was named in Rochdale’s starting line-up, returning from a three-match suspension, but there was no sign of fellow former Seasider Ryan McLaughlin in the home side’s squad.
Despite the boisterous away following in the stands, it was a quiet start to proceedings on the pitch.
Rochdale saw most of the ball in the early exchanges and played some neat and tidy stuff, but the majority of it was played in front of Blackpool, rather than behind them.
The home side were awarded a free kick just 20 yards out from goal after just 13 minutes, Ollie Turton penalised for a foul on Oliver Rathbone.
Callum Camps looked to capitalise, driving an effort towards goal that flicked off the wall and wide, out for a corner.
Pool’s first chance fell to in-form striker Armand Gnanduillet, as he flicked a header over the bar from Ollie Turton’s centre.
It was a tough chance, though, and the forward - who has scored four goals in his opening five games - did well to even direct his header towards goal.
Gnanduilet produced a bullet header five minutes later, but this time he was denied by a superb flying save from Dale keeper Robert Sanchez.
It came via Jordan Thompson’s threatening corner, and Gnanduillet made the perfect connection, but Sanchez somehow kept it out to keep the score level.
The Seasiders maintained their dominance, putting Rochdale’s back four under pressure every time they looked to pass out from the back.
Feeney provided yet another dangerous ball across the face of the six-yard box, but the chance went begging as no teammate decided to gamble.
After a lull in game, probably brought on by the searing heat, Thompson was the next Pool player to go for goal, volleying wide after the ball had flicked up nicely for him 20 yards out.
Dale enjoyed a couple of rare openings in the final stages of the opening half, but they produced tame efforts at the vital moment with Jak Alnwick remaining untested.
Curtis Tilt had to time his tackle to perfection at the start of the second half, making a last-ditch sliding challenge to deny half-time change Rekeil Pyke inside the Pool box.
Grayson’s men immediately broke at speed, Guy playing in Sullay Kaikai who beat two men before cutting inside, only to see his close-range effort blocked by the feet of keeper Sanchez.
Dale responded well, going close through Camps who drove a 25-yard effort just over the crossbar with Alnwick beaten.
Halfway through the second period, Grayson sprung something of a shock by bringing off Kaikai, who had just looked to be getting into the game.
Joe Nuttall was the man to come on, as Grayson opted to go with two out-and-out strikers in attack.
The home side still found it tough going against Pool’s solid defensive shape, although they did create an opening of sorts for Ian Henderson who blazed well wide when a free kick by the touchline was pulled back to him.
With 12 minutes remaining, Pool had another good chance to break the deadlock, Thompson the man to come close.
It followed good hold-up play by Nuttall, who controlled the ball well before laying it off to Thompson who made the perfect connection with his drilled shot, only for Sanchez to claim. Either side of the keeper and it was 1-0 Blackpool.
Pool were the side going for it in the five minutes of stoppage time, while Dale were happy to hold on for a point.
The pressure almost paid off, too, as they came inches away from a dramatic winner right at the death.
Husband’s cross deflected up and over the keeper, who missed the ball completely, resulting in the ball hitting the inside of the post before being cleared off the line by a defender.
Rochdale: Sanchez, Matheson, Norrington-Davies, McNulty, O'Connell, Dooley (Done), Williams, Camps, Rathbone (Andrew), Ryan (Pyke), Henderson
Subs not used: Lynch, Keohane, Magloire, Morley
Blackpool: Alnwick, Turton, Edwards, Tilt, Feeney (Heneghan), Husband, Spearing, Guy, Thompson, Kaikai (Nuttall), Gnanduillet (Hardie)
Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Bushiri, Shaw, Pritchard
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 4,664 (2,014 Blackpool)