Rochdale 1-2 Walsall | Keith Hill’s side slip to third home defeat

Rochdale are still yet to win their first home point of the season after falling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Walsall at Spotland.

Peterborough United and more recently Barnsley won handsomely at the Crown Oil Arena earlier in the month before Dale were made to pay for some more defensive lapses against the Saddlers.

Despite dominating possession in the first half Hill’s men were left trailing at the break after goalkeeper Magnus Norman, making his debut for the club having signed on loan from Fulham, found Josh Ginnelly with a slack pass, who guided into the bottom corner after 32 minutes.

MJ Williams blazed a glorious chance to equalise over the crossbar in the second half before Zeil Ismail glided through Dale’s midfield and got the return the pass from Josh Gordon in the box before curling into the far corner in the 78th minute.

Dale did get some reward for their patient play in the following minute when visiting ‘keeper Liam Roberts failed to properly clear Aaron Wilbraham’s downward header and midfielder Callum Camps followed in to set up a tense finale.

Camps had another effort beaten away by Roberts moments later but if anything, it was Dean Keates’ side that should have scored again in the closing moments.

Striker Andy Cook should have found the net with two clear openings late on, dragging wide of the far post having turned Jimmy McNulty inside out and then being denied by Norman from point blank distance.

Either side of those chances came a second yellow card for goalscorer Ismael but the visitors were unaffected by their man disadvantage as they claimed a third consecutive win.

“I still believe this squad can turn it around but there’s going to be more pressure on, because there was a lot of optimism and I believe that optimising should remain,” Dale boss Hill told the club’s official website in the aftermath of defeat.

Dale have been better on the road this term with wins at Burton Albion on the opening day and against Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup, as well as a draw at Fleetwood Town last weekend, but there are some difficult games upcoming.

First is a midweek trip to Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup before Dale travel to Coventry City next weekend.

And after that, Dale are back at Spotland for a local derby against Bury in the Checkatrade Trophy. Hill will hope his players are in better shape by then for sure.

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