Rochdale slumped to another defeat on Tuesday evening against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, with Sullay Kaikai’s first-half goal the difference.
Dale made one change from the starting side that was thrashed by MK Dons last Tuesday, with Jim McNulty coming in for Haydon Roberts at the back, in the hope that the Scottish defender could add some experience to the backline that has struggled so much in recent fixtures.
Despite the home side dominating possession in the early stages, it was Brian Barry-Murphy’s side who carved out the first opportunity of the game.
Eoghan O’Connell’s quickly-taken free-kick was perfect for Alex Newby over the top, but the former Chorley man couldn’t lift the ball over the onrushing Chris Maxwell.
The Tangerines then came close to the opener, as Gavin Bazunu denied Kenny Dougall, before Jordan Thorniley’s fierce strike was superbly blocked by McNulty.
From the resulting corner, with the experienced defender forced off after the physio came on to treat him, Jerry Yates turned the ball home, but it was ruled out for offside.
It wouldn’t be long until Blackpool opened the scoring, however, as Kaikai found the back of the net with a strike from inside the area.
Gabriel Osho, who was playing as a right-back for some unbeknown reason, cleared the ball straight to the opposition, which allowed James Husband to whip in a deep cross, which was headed back across goal with the Dale defence standing still. Osho then had another chance to clear the ball but failed to make a strong connection, and Kaikai fired past Bazunu at the back post for 1-0 with 21 minutes on the clock.
Stephen Humphrys then saw an excellent effort from a free-kick tipped over by Maxwell, in what was Dale’s only real foray forward for the rest of the first half.
It was embarrassing how comfortable Blackpool were at times, with Dale unable to get out of their own half as the home side kept possession and continued to push forward.
Ellis Simms came the closest to scoring a second as he saw an effort saved by Bazunu following a loose pass from Conor Shaughnessy, who looked way off the pace again.
Half Time: Blackpool 1-0 Rochdale
Despite Blackpool’s domination, there were no changes at the break by Dale and it was nearly a nightmare start to the second 45.
Dale’s super tactic of giving the ball to Aaron Morley from kick-off so he can hoof a ball straight out of play or to the opposition paid dividends as Blackpool won the ball and pushed forward, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position, from which Kaikai hit the post.
The away side’s best chance of the game came when another quality ball over the top from O’Connell found Humphrys but his touch let him down and it ran out of play.
Barry-Murphy finally sent on Ryan McLaughlin at right-back which helped Dale a lot as they had more of an attacking threat on the right-hand side, which frankly wasn’t offered by Osho, who definitely looks more comfortable at centre-back.
Whilst Dale looked better in the second 45 and had a lot more of the ball, they failed to register a single shot on target, with Jimmy Keohane’s header going well wide after Newby’s cross.
Ollie Rathbone then headed in from a corner but Maxwell had been flattened, so it was rightfully disallowed.
Considering Bristol Rovers’ impressive win against Portsmouth, this was a game Dale really needed to get something from, and form will have to dramatically improve if they are to avoid relegation this season.
Full Time: Blackpool 1-0 Rochdale
Man of the Match: Sullay Kaikai