Rochdale took another step towards League One safety on Saturday with a 3-1 win against Scunthorpe United at Spotland (Crown Oil Arena).
Goals coming from the in-form Kgosi Ntlhe, and a brace from the veteran Aaron Wilbraham being enough to secure the 3 points. Wilbraham’s double saw him become the oldest player since Steve Claridge back in 2005 to achieve this in a League One match, and also the oldest player to score in the league this season. Taking his total consecutive seasons in which he has scored at least 2 goals to 21, which is very impressive.
The after effects of the result also saw a strange coincidence, as the day after the game, Stuart McCall was sacked as Scunthorpe manager, exactly 12 months to the day after Graham Alexander suffered the same fate after losing points against Rochdale in a 1-1 draw.
Most significantly for Rochdale though, the win, coupled with the fact they were the only team to win in the bottom half of the table, with Plymouth and Bristol Rovers drawing and Accrington, Scunthorpe, Shrewsbury, Southend, Walsall, AFC Wimbledon & Bradford all losing.
This has seen them gain significant ground and now know a win in their game in hand would see them out of the drop zone. Unfortunately, that game in hand is away at relegation rivals Accrington, and is now sandwiched between a tough week with Sunderland visiting Spotland and a tricky trip to Fratton Park either side of it.
But as Dale caretaker manager Brian Barry Murphy has said “we are playing on a game to game basis” so up next is a trip to Priestfield to take on Steve Lovell’s Gillingham who currently being in 12th position. This will be no easy task, although with Dale taking seven points from three games since Brian Barry-Murphy, Tony Ellis and Lee Riley took charge – the new management team will be hoping this new found consistency will help in taking another stride towards League One safety.