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The YT suffered a first home defeat of the season against Rochdale, where a mad 2 minutes cost us dear, and we were on the end of a 2-0 reverse.

With the depleted Dev Squad playing on Friday and using a number of the scholars to swell its ranks, we saw a much changed side from the previous outing away at Accrington. Both centre halves were changed, with James Clarke coming off the bench and Markell Foulds moving up from the U-16. Kwasinkosi Mpofu also replaced Ali Koiki at left back. Dwight McNeil and Mark Howarth were also absent, with Tommy Wood and Ethan Kershaw taking their places. We seemed to line up with a 4-5-1, using Wood as the point of the spear with Tinashe Chakwana and RJ Pingling on the flanks.

Tristan Jumeau saw his cross hit the bar

Tristan Jumeau saw his cross hit the bar

The visitors had the first chance early on as they won possession on the left and were well placed behind a panicked defence, but the shot was poor and wide of the goal. Wood was nearly played in with a ball that turned the Dale defence shortly after, but he misread the bounce and couldn’t capitalise when the ball spun back into him and stalled any momentum. Aside from that it was pretty much one way traffic for the first half hour with Rochdale doing most of the pressing.

It changed very suddenly when Pingling was set free with acres to run into. His first touch was heavy but he still had time and space to pick his spot when one on one. He fired his shot too close to the keeper though and the Dale stopper was grateful to see the ball cannon away off his legs. It spurred us on and we became more dominant for a period. We just had nothing to open a stubborn and strong defence, and it meant that the half ended even with both keepers pretty underutilised.

We started the 2nd on the front foot and in the opening minute Chakwana had almost gotten on the scoresheet. He collected the ball on the left quite deep and drove through the Rochdale lines, before firing wide. Dale went straight up the other end though and firstly saw a shot blocked by our scrambling defence, then had another effort cleared off the line by Leighton Egan in a blistering response. We made a change around 10 into the half as U-16 Kian Yari replaced Chakwana. He took up a central midfield role and Tyler Shrimpton moved to the left wing.

With that the pendulum seemed to swing back towards us and we became the more dominant team. We started peppering the box and won a couple of corners. Tristan Jumeau also hit the bar from distance with a misdirected cross that the keeper had to watch closely and help out of play. Dale were looking momentarily rattled, but in a swift break they were again in our box and Mpofu had to put his body on the line to block an effort at the far post.

From the Dale corner we broke and good combination play from Yari and Wood set Jumeau on the right wing. He squared it to Pingling who fed Shrimpton. The winger clipped the ball over and it took a deflection, spinning towards the far post. Jumeau was at full stretch to get it but could only connect with the post.

With around 20 left we had our 2 minutes of madness. Foulds was dispossessed and the Dale forward had a clear run on goal. He fired past King and the backtracking Foulds. The lads rightly offered support to the U-16 defender and it may be that as a unit we weren’t switched on at the kickoff as Dale quickly won back possession and drove in again, ending with a shot across goal that just crept in off the post.

We made a change with U-16 Kamar Moncrieffe replacing Wood and moved to a 4-4-2 to try and strike back, but the Dale defence was not offering much hope and we just seemed to lack the creativity to unlock them.

Team:- Connor King, Leighton Egan, Kwasinkosi Mpofu, Markell Foulds, James Clarke, Ethan Kershaw, Tyler Shrimpton, Tristan Jumeau, RJ Pingling, Tinashe Chakwana (Kian Yari), Tommy Wood (Kamar Moncrieffe).
Subs not used:- Marcel Wusiewicz, Miles Fenton, Daniel Thomson-Edwards.

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