Rochdale’s struggles on home soil resurfaced this week with defeat to Portsmouth and a draw against Bristol Rovers in the space of four days.
That figure does perhaps not tell the whole story, however, Keith Hill’s side taking a point on Tuesday having played the entirety of the second half with the ten men, following the loss to the League One leaders at the weekend.
One win from five home league outings remains a concern, though, one which the 15th-placed side will hope to arrest before it can be considered a trend.
There was little shame in losing to Portsmouth, although having kept it level for 71 minutes, Hill would have been disappointed to see his side ultimately go down to a 3-1 defeat which perhaps reflected kindly on Pompey.
Kenny Jackett’s side hit back through Jamal Lowe in the 25th minute after Aaron Wilbraham volleyed home stunningly to give Dale the lead.
“WOW, WHAT A GOAL!” tweeted @officiallydale when this flew in on Saturday.
They were right! 😮
— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) October 2, 2018
But Brett Pitman and Matt Clarke struck late on to win it for the visitors, and how Dale could’ve done with some of the inspiration which Wilbraham provided when Rovers played visitor to the Crown Oil Arena in midweek.
With Wilbraham not in the squad for Rovers’ visit, Dale drew a blank at home for the second time this season.
In the circumstances Dale were probably grateful for the point with Stefan Payne hitting the crossbar in the first half and goalkeeper Magnus Norman saving brilliantly from Ollie Clarke, but the Fulham loanee was shown red in first half stoppage time for bringing down Payne.
Substitute goalkeeper Josh Lillis defended Dale’s net admirably in Norman’s absence, making one particularly impressive stop to deny Liam Sercombe from close range.
Bradden Inman shot straight at the goalkeeper at the other end and Ian Henderson converted wide in the dying embers, but the sides were ultimately forced to settle for a point apiece.
“I was really happy with the energy, the commitment and the basic values,” manager Hill told the club’s official website in the aftermath. “I’m really pleased from that aspect and I think that will allow us to grow.”
Next up for Dale is a trip to Blackpool this weekend, the Seasiders on a seven match unbeaten run in league action which stretches back to just the second weekend of the season.