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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

29 April 2023 Venue Crown Oil Arena Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Rochdale v Sutton preview and travel details

28 April 2023

Sutton's last away trip of the Sky Bet League Two season takes U's to the Crown Oil Arena, a venue that will not be on the calendar next season after Rochdale's relegation from the Football League was confirmed by last week's defeat at Stockport. Sutton will be wearing all amber.

It's been a grim season for Rochdale, who have been in the bottom two for much of the campaign and despite a brief upturn in form after the appointment of Jimmy McNulty as manager at the end of March, which saw his first two games end in victories, a run of four subsequent games without a win has sealed their fate. McNulty took over after Jim Bentley had left the club following a defeat at fellow strugglers Crawley, Bentley himself having replaced Robbie Stockdale just before the end of August. Saturday's game will be their last home game as an EFL club 102 years after they joined the competition on the formation of the regionalised third divisions in 1921.

Last season's visit to the Crown Oil Arena was a disappointing one for U's, who played over half the game with ten men after Richie Bennett's sending off, but who came back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 in the 90th minute before conceding an injury time goal. At Sutton U's won 3-0 last season and this term Will Randall's goal direct from a corner was enough to give U's the points.

That result ended a run of three straight league and cup defeats, and five games without a win, and U's head north on Saturday in similarly poor form, last week's defeat at Colchester a fifth in a row and the last win coming against Crawley in early March. Without a game in midweek, U's dropped in to the lower half of the table and will be looking for enough points in the last two games to move back in to the top twelve, with ninth the highest achievable position.

Ben Goodliffe came off at half time at Colchester with an injury and a late decision will be made on him, while U's have several other injury and illness concerns ahead of the trip to Rochdale, with manager Matt Gray confirming that Craig Eastmond and Louis John will not appear again this season after their injuries over the past couple of months.

Saturday's referee is Ben Toner, who is in his eighth season as an EFL referee and earlier this month took charge of the Papa Johns Trophy final at Wembley. 

Live coverage of the game is available through our iFollow service, with an audio commentary in the UK for £2.50 and a live stream for overseas supporters, price £10. Click here to buy the relevant pass, and supporters not travelling to Rochdale can also watch our academy side in action in the morning, with a home game against Oxford United in the EFL Youth Alliance at the VBS, kick off 11am. The disability side then host Woking Wolves at 2pm.

Tickets for the game at Rochdale are available on line through this link. Prices are: Adults £24; Senior (age 65+) £19; Age 12-21 £14; Age 11 and under £7. Tickets can be bought on line right up to kick off - the link is open until 4.30pm on the day of the game.

Any supporters requiring wheelchair accommodation, or ambulant disabled supporters requiring a carer, should phone the Rochdale ticket office on 01706 644648 (option 1).

Tickets will be on sale at the ground on Saturday at no extra cost. There is a portacabin for cash sales, opening at 1pm,  next door to the Football in the Community Office. Card sales are available at the ticket office which is likely to get very busy, so we would recommend buying in advance.

Visiting supporter information can be found here. A fan zone to which Sutton supporters are welcome opens at 11am in the Ratcliffe and Dale Bars, with a happy hour until 12.30pm. Saturday will see Rochdale marking the passing of those associated with their club over the past year, with a minute's applause before the game.

The Supporters' coach leaves the VBS at 7.30am

By car leave the M62 at junction 20 and follow signs for Rochdale along the A627(M). At the first set of traffic lights keep left, sign posted Bury and Rochdale Town Centre. Bunnings Warehouse will be on your right hand side, follow this road until the next set of traffic lights. Here you need to be in the second lane of four lanes, to head straight across (sign posted Blackburn). Follow this road (Roch Valley Way) until the next set of traffic lights, remaining in the left hand lane. At the traffic lights go straight ahead on to Sandy Lane (the Cemetery pub should be on your right hand side). Continue along this road and the Stadium is on your right hand side after approximately half a mile. There is no on site parking for supporters but side street parking is available. Parking restrictions are in place in yellow coned areas.
By rail, although Rochdale is close to Manchester the easier trip is actually to travel from King's Cross and change at Leeds. Leave King's Cross at 09.03, 09.33 or 10.03 to arrive at 12.46, 13.12 or 13.46, and return at 10 or 50 minutes past the hour. Rochdale station is about two and a half miles from the ground, so take a taxi or catch the tram to Rochdale Town Centre, close to the Interchange Bus Station where you can catch an R2 or 468 which go close to the ground. From Euston, where there is a reduced service on Saturday due to engineering works, you need to transfer from Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Victoria then catch the tram to Rochdale Town Centre or train to Rochdale. Further details at and



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Match Reports

Match report for Rochdale 4 Sutton United 1

29 April 2023

Rochdale 4 (Rodney 8,56, Brierley 25, Keohane 50) Sutton United 1 (Boldewijn 38)

Sutton's disappointing end to the season continued with a heavy defeat against a Rochdale side already relegated from the EFL but determined to sign off from their home campaign with a performance that would give their supporters enthusiasm for the challenges ahead in the National League. For all the credit that the home side deserved, though, it was a tired display from Sutton, for whom everything went wrong in the first half hour. Susceptible every time the ball was played through the middle of the defence, U's conceded twice and then saw Brad House, starting a Football League game for the first time, sent off. Although Enzio Boldewijn's well taken goal sent U's in at the break more optimistic than might have been the case, two goals in six minutes early in the second half put the game beyond reach.

House got his chance as U's tried to protect the toe injury that has troubled Jack Rose recently, while with Omar Bugiel and Matt Dennis both unwell Kylian Kouassi was given a start alongside Donovan Wilson, but the House dismissal denied Kouassi more than half an hour as he was sacrificed for the introduction of Rose.

U's had conceded twice by then and there could have been more. Devante Rodney opened the scoring after being set up by Ian Henderson, who had been put through by Liam Kelly's pass over the top. Rodney should have had another when he failed to connect with Kelly's chip to the far post, and D'Mani Miller shot just wide after a long clearance by goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell had again caused U's problems. When Rochdale did score a second it was from a Sutton corner as Joe Kizzi's header was scrambled away and Rodney made the most of a slip by Ali Smith to launch the counter attack that ended with Kelly crossing low and Ethan Brierley slotting past House.

It hadn't been a great start for House, blameless though he was for both goals, but it got worse four minutes later as another long ball from the back cause hesitation between Rob Milsom and his keeper, who collided with Sinclair on the edge of the penalty area. There was debate as to how easy it would have been for Sinclair to go on and score, but once referee Ben Toner had blown for the foul House was in trouble and the red card ended his, and moments later Kouassi's afternoon. Coming straight on to face the free kick, Rose deserved great praise for his save low to his right to keep out Owen Dodgson's low shot, and Sutton then sprung back with a fine team goal, Kizzi, Coby Rowe, Ben Goodliffe, Smith and David Ajiboye all involved before Boldewijn found Milsom on the left and continued his run to turn Milsom's cross neatly in to the net, his first goal of this season and his third for U's in the EFL, all of which have come against Rochdale.

The first half had finished in torrential rain but drier conditions welcomed the players as they came out for the second half, and Rochdale had soon regained any control they had lost. Jimmy Keohane climbed above Boldewijn to head in Dodgson's corner despite the combined efforts of Rose, Milsom and Harry Beautyman to keep the ball out, and six minutes later, a promising counter attack led by Boldewijn ended with a misplaced pass that was cut out before it could reach Wilson, who had battled in vain on his own up front since House's dismissal, and Rochdale broke again with Sinclair putting Rodney through to beat Rose as U's appealed for offside.

At that point U's seemed to be heading for a trouncing, but one fine interception in the six yard box from Goodliffe and some good blocks kept the score at four. Substitute Abraham Odoh scooped Rochdale's best chance over the bar, and an undistiguished appearance for Odoh also included a booking for diving over Rowe's challenge in such a way that it sparked heated exchanges which also saw U's substitute Sam Hart shown a yellow card, joining Smith and Beautyman in the book. Sutton kept battling to the end, but any moves of promise broke down before O'Donnell could be tested, Ajiboye dispossessed by Sam Graham when Smith's pass seemed to have given him U's best chance, and a sixth successive defeat never looked likely to be avoided, with U's hoping to end the run in front of the VBS Community Stadium crowd next Monday against Carlisle, who are all but assured of a play-off place.

Sutton: B House, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, D Ajiboye(sub S Hart 85) E Boldewijn, A Smith, K Kouassi (sub J Rose 31), H Beautyman, D Wilson(sub L Angol 74). Subs n/u C Dundas, M Ridley, R Charles-Cook, L Gambin. Booked: Beautyman, Smith, Hart. Sent Off: House

Rochdale: R O'Donnell, J Keohane, O Dodgson(sub G Nevett 88), S Graham, E Brierley(sub J Ball 89), E Ebanks-Landell, L Kelly, T Sinclair(sub A Odoh 65) D'Mani Mellor, D Rodney, I Henderson(sub D Lloyd 82). Subs n/u  J Eastwood, F Seriki, C John. Booked: Rodney, Odoh.

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 3,148(112 away)

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