Meet Town's opponents, Rochdale: Bottom of the table, but Dale know where the net is

A general view of the Crown Oil Arena ahead of the FA Cup third round match between Rochdale AFC and

Town travel to Rochdale - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town travel to Rochdale on Monday, looking to make it six points out of a possible six over Easter. MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's opponents.

MADNESS! PURE MADNESS!

It's a strange one this - with Rochdale.

You see they are bottom of the table, yet have scored more goals than almost every team in the bottom half of League One.

In recent weeks they have won at Lincoln, notched three at Peterborough in an exciting 3-3 draw. While around Christmas time they were being labelled 'the entertainers' on the fact that their games were pure goal-fests.

Rochdale's Oliver Rathbone reacts to a missed chance during the FA Cup third round match at The Crow

Rochdale's Oliver Rathbone reacts to a missed chance at The Crown Oil Arena, Rochdale, also known as Spotland. - Credit: PA

Back in December they lost 1-4 at Peterborough, before thrashing Wigan 5-0 at the DW three days later! They lost 1-4 at home to Gillingham, drew 3-3 with Crewe (after being three down) as the goals continued to fly in during their games.

They drew 4-4 with Charlton after being 4-2 up, then drew 3-3 with Wigan in the return fixture against the Latics. To cap a mad two months, they lost 3-4 at home to Oxford!

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Entertaining, yes! But there were few wins in that little lot to help manager Brian Barry-Murphy get his side further up the table.

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Incredibly after that mini-run of goals, goals, goals, the Dale went firmly into their shell and only notched three in their next 10 games - before winning at Lincoln last month.

So, while they maybe bottom of the League One table, they've scored six more goals than Ipswich this season and they are not bottom of the last 'six-game' form guide.

Rochdale's Luke Matheson reacts to a missed chance during the FA Cup third round match at The Crown

Rochdale's Luke Matheson. Currently Matheson is on-loan at Portman Road. - Credit: PA

So, make of that what you will.

One thing is for sure. Don't be lulled into thinking this is a team that is easily walked over, despite their lowly position.

Even on Good Friday while losing at Portsmouth - they had more shots and more shots on target than Danny Cowley's team.

Rochdale Manager Brian Barry-Murphy

Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy - Credit: PA

THE GAFFER

Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy is one of the younger managers in League One. He's 42 and hails from Cork.

A defensive midfielder, he wasn't a prolific scorer, but was a solid performer who played almost 400 Football League games after leaving Ireland to come to England to play. He made most of his appearances for Bury, but also played for Sheffield Wednesday, with his final club being Rochdale.

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He played internationally for the Republic of Ireland twice at under-21 level and took over as boss at Spotland Stadium in March 2019 as caretaker manager, following the sacking of Keith Hill. He was appointed manager a month later.

Fun fact: Barry-Murphy scored the 1,000th goal for Bury in Tier 4 of the English Football League in a 2–2 draw with Wrexham. This made Bury the first club to score 1,000 goals in all four tiers of the league.

Teddy Bishop has been brilliant for Town so far Picture: STEVE WALLER

Teddy Bishop, celebrating his goal against Rochdale earlier in the season - Credit: Steve Waller

THE LAST TIME

Town made it three out of three at the start of this season, second-half goals from Teddy Bishop and Gwion Edwards maintaining Ipswich's 100% record in a 2-0 win over Rochdale at Portman Road.

But the hosts were made to fight hard for the points by a spirited Dale who had their chances.

Ipswich took the lead after 53 minutes when great hold-up play by Hawkins led to him feeding in Bishop, who slotted the ball home. And the home side extended their lead six minutes later when Edwards swept the ball home following good play by Stephen Ward.

Toto Nsiala congratulates Gwion Edwards after his goal in the 2-0 victory over Rochdale.
Picture

Toto Nsiala congratulates Gwion Edwards after his goal in the 2-0 victory over Rochdale. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

100 UP

Next season will be a big one for Rochdale.

It marks 100 years since Rochdale AFC first appeared in the Football League. It was back on Saturday, August 27, 1921, 11 Dale players took to the field at Spotland against Accrington Stanley and thrilled around 7,000 fans with a 6-3 victory.

You see, even back then their games rarely lacked goals!

(left to right) Bobby Ball, Frank Carson and Tommy Cannon arrive for the funeral of Bernard Manning

(Left to right) Bobby Ball, Frank Carson and Tommy Cannon - Cannon was chairman of Rochdale for a short time in the 80s. - Credit: PA

DID YOU KNOW?

Comedian Tommy Cannon (from the double act Cannon and Ball) was chairman of Rochdale AFC during the 1980s.

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