ROCHDALE 1, COLCHESTER UNITED 1
Rochdale had to settle for a draw on the night they celebrated a landmark 100th birthday as an EFL club.
The game, Rochdale’s 4,155th league fixture, had been brought forward by one day to ensure it was exactly 100 years since they played their first match.
Whereas Rochdale marked August 27, 1921 with a 6-3 win against Accrington Stanley in Third Division North, there was no repeat as Rochdale’s miserable home form continued.
They had the worst home record in League One last season which had a massive bearing on their relegation and this season they have only two points from a possible nine from their first three league games.
It looked as though they might finish empty handed after Max Taylor’s calamitous own goal gifted Colchester a first-half lead.
Former Manchester United player Taylor, 21, who left Old Trafford in the summer, found his own net late in the opening half when he completely lost his bearings with a back pass to goalkeeper Joel Coleman.
Rochdale manager Robbie Stockdale had sympathy for Taylor who almost completely ruined the night which saw club legends like Keith Hicks, Les Chapman, Richard Jobson and Billy Rudd return to the Crown Oil Arena and do a lap of honour at half time.
The 21-year-old defender’s own goal gifted Colchester the lead only for wing-back Jimmy Keohane to save the day with a second-half leveller with a close-range shot.
He said: “Max is a young defender who has been excellent.
“It was unfortunate to concede a goal in those circumstances. We would have buckled but showed character.”
Stockdale thought playing a third match in six days caught up with his players who had won at League One Shrewsbury Town in midweek in the Carabao Cup.
He said: “I have mixed emotions but am relatively pleased to have finished the week unbeaten with two wins and a draw.
“If we had flipped the results and drawn at Northampton last Saturday and won tonight, rather than the other way round, it would have been different.”
Hayden Mullins praised the spirit of his Colchester players.
“The boys are sat in the dressing room not happy with a point which shows what a good group we have,” explained the U’s manager.
“We have to try to be a tough side to beat away and we have five points on the road already from three games.
“We tried to attack and had good chances to kill the game, especially early in the second half.”
Mullins was pleased how his side managed the night: “We knew it was a big night for Rochdale, but we managed the atmosphere well.”
He was happy to profit from Taylor’s misfortune.
“We had a bit of luck on the road and took it. It was long overdue as we didn’t have it last season,” he said.
Colchester, who had posted a first league win of the season last Saturday at Oldham Athletic, had been looking for a second win in a week in the North West. They are unbeaten in all three away league games, however, picking up five points.
Rochdale’s preparations were hit in the warm-up when goalkeeper Jay Lynch injured his arm and he was replaced by Coleman, the ex-Oldham, Huddersfield and Fleetwood player, who was handed a late call-up for his league debut.
Abraham Odoh, Corey O’Keeffe and Keohane all had half chances for Rochdale before Colchester snatched a 40th minute lead in what had been a lacklustre opening period.
O’Keeffe, a threat at right wing back, had another chance early in the second half before Rochdale were eventually rewarded for their efforts with a 61st minute leveller from Keohane who was lurking at the far post to convert a low cross from Alex Newby.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the last half hour, Jake Beesley going close and O’Keeffe having an appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Rebecca Welch – even Stockdale thought it was not a spot kick.
Brendan Wiredu saw a header flash just over the crossbar for The U’s whose best opening came in stoppage time when 18-year-old substitute Gene Kennedy, who was making only his second senior appearance, found himself through on goal only for his effort to be blocked for a corner as the match ended in stalemate.