Notts. County 0 Rochdale 0

Last updated : 03 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Rochdale deserved more credit than Notts County from the goalless draw at Meadow Lane.

Though eventually reduced to nine men as a consequence of two red cards, the visitors battled to the finish and would have been unlucky not to have left with a point.

Indeed in stoppage time they created an opening from which they might have taken all three points but for a cool goal-line clearance by Notts County's star teenage defender Kelvin Wilson.

Notts had confidently been expecting to complete the double over Rochdale and the man who destroyed them at Spotland with a hat-trick - striker Glynn Hurst - had what turned out to be the home side's best scoring opportunity of the match in the fourth minute.

But from no more than eight yards he drove the ball too close to Rochdale keeper Matthew Gilks who saved with his body.

How different it would have been if that chance had gone in, but instead Rochdale began to grow in confidence as they knocked the ball about impressively although in-form County keeper Saul Deeney was not seriously tested.

The game flared for the first time just before the break when Dale midfielder Ernie Cooksey was sent off for going over the top in a tackle on David Pipe. The Notts player did not reappear for the second half and was later said to be on crutches with a serious ankle injury.

Notts only created a limited number of chances in the second period. It needed calmer heads and better passing than Notts were able to muster to break the deadlock.

The nearest Notts came to scoring was when Gilks saved well from Stefan Oakes' 20-yard free-kick.

With 15 minutes left Rochdale lost a second player when Gareth Griffith fell victim to his second yellow card.

His body-check on substitute Tony Scully just outside the penalty area was deemed worthy of a second yellow and he followed Cooksey in going early to the dressing room. But Rochdale battled bravely and held on well for their point.