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Club News

League Two Lowdown: Rochdale

12 August 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with The Dale

Meetings with Pompey
Rochdale have yet to beat Pompey in any fixture – mind you, they sides have only met four times.

Those matches took place over two successive Division Four seasons between 1978 and 1980.

Goals from Steve Davey and John Lathan gave the Blues a 2-0 victory at Spotland in the first meeting, while the return at Fratton Park was as good as it got for Rochdale. Even then, they were denied by victory by Leigh Barnard’s 90th-minute equaliser, which sent Pompey to the top of the table for the first time since 1967.

The Blues scored one of their cheekiest ever goals the following season. The Dale keeper was unaware that Colin Garwood lurked behind him as he rolled the ball out and the striker nipped in steal it and roll it into the back of the net.

That secured a 2-1 victory, while Pompey also won 3-0 at Fratton Park thanks to goals from Joe Laidlaw (2) and Jeff Hemmerman.

 The Blues won promotion that season, while Rochdale finished bottom of the pile and were forced to seek re-election.

Rochdale history
Rochdale were formed in 1907 and accepted into the Manchester League before going on to compete in the Lancashire Combination a season later.

They won the league in 1911 and applied for Football League status, but their request was turned down. They got the same answer after the First World War before eventually becoming founder members of Division Three (North) in 1921 – finishing bottom and having to reapply.

Rochdale hold the dubious distinction – along with Hartlepool – of playing the most seasons in the Football League without having competed in the top two divisions. The total currently stands at 86 campaigns.

Their record includes 36 successive seasons – from 1974 to 2010 – in the basement league and their highest ever position is ninth in the third tier.

Rochdale won promotion in both 1969 and 2010, with relegations occurring in 1974 and 2012.

They were runners-up to Norwich in the 1962 League Cup – and were the only fourth tier team to reach the final of a major cup competition until Bradford managed the same feat last term.

Rochdale present
The past few years have been some of the most productive in Rochdale’s history.

They reached the League Two play-offs in 2007/08, but after defeating Darlington on penalties, they were beaten 3-2 by Stockport in their first ever trip to Wembley.

There was more play-off heartache the following season, but Rochdale ended a 41-year wait for promotion in 2009/10 after finishing third in League Two.

Success saw manager Keith Hill poached by Barnsley, though, and relegation back to League Two followed in 2012.

Rochdale finished eighth last season, eight points adrift of the play-off places, but 10 clear of the bottom two.

Information for Pompey fans
There is room for 1,500 away fans in the Willbutts Lane Stand, although this number can be increased if there is enough demand.

There are two bars at Spotland which welcome travelling supporters. Studs is located under the Pearl Street Stand, while The Ratcliffe Arms can be found by the car park end of the ground on Sandy Lane. The Cemetery Hotel is also nearby.

Travelling by road
Postcode: OL11 5DS
Distance from Fratton Park: 261.2 miles
Estimated drive time: 4 hours 35 minutes

Exit the M62 at Junction 20 and take the A627(M) towards Rochdale. At the end of the A627(M) turn left at the traffic lights. Go straight through the next set of lights into Roch Valley Way. At the next crossroads go straight onto Sandy Lane, where the ground can be found on the right after approximately 0.75 miles. Car Parking at the ground is for permit holders only and there is a residents only parking scheme in the streets around Spotland.

Travelling by train
The journey from Portsmouth stations takes approximately six hours, with changes at London Euston, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria. There is also a metro link service from both Manchester stations. The standard adult fare is £126.50 and the ground is two miles from the station.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Rochdale: Saturday, October 5 (3pm)
Rochdale v Pompey: Tuesday, March 25 (7.45pm)

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