sport

Dale spirit delights Beech

Assistant manager Chris Beech lauded Rochdale's battling spirit after coming from behind to beat Morecambe 2-1 at Spotland.

Goals from Scott Hogan and Ian Henderson overturned Jack Redshaw's opener for the visitors as Dale moved up to fourth in the League Two table, just a point off the automatic promotion places.

"The day represented a battle, from the battle to get the game on in such conditions to our gritty performance in grinding out a win," said Beech.

"It takes it down to 16 games left. There are some very strong teams at the top of the league, playing some great football and we've produced that today and that's how it's got to be.

"Morecambe scored against the run of play but when you have a player of Scott Hogan's capabilities you always have a chance. He was up against two defenders in chasing down that ball but he used his strength to make the ball his and once he comes inside he has that tight touch, dips his shoulder and uses his pace - there is no one better. He beat the other centre half and put it straight into the top corner. That was very good individual football."

Despite a bright opening from Rochdale, Redshaw struck the first blow in the 32nd minute. Robbie Threlfall's ball over the top of the home defence held up in the swirling wind around Spotland and dropped kindly for Andrew Wright on the left side of the area. He in turn picked out Redshaw, who converted from six yards.

The home side were level within two minutes, though. Hogan muscled Andy Parrish off the ball then ghosted past Mark Hughes before slamming a firm finish into the roof of Barry Roche's net.

And the home side claimed the spoils in the 73rd minute when Henderson raced through the centre before exchanging passes with Matt Done on the edge of the area. Hughes' attempted interception ricocheted off Henderson's ankle and flew beyond Roche.

Morecambe had a Jamie Devitt free-kick headed off the line by Done and several other close calls as they pushed for an equaliser. Boss Jim Bentley, whose side have not won since Boxing Day, said they just need a lucky break.

"Sometimes things go against you when you are struggling, not just decisions from the officials but the rubs of the green and bounces of the ball in the box," said Bentley.

"Their second goal was the kind of thing we have been crying out for lately - that little bit of luck. But we have just got to keep believing in ourselves, keep plugging away.

"We've played some decent stuff of late and we're not getting steamrolled by anyone but we've been coming up against the top sides in the division, Burton last week and Rochdale today - both teams up chasing automatic promotion - and we have just come up a little bit short."