Rochdale 0 Lincoln City 1

Last updated : 21 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Three more points down the drain for Rochdale, one-time league leaders and now looking anxiously at the wrong end of the league table.

It was a game nobody really deserved to win and there was a lot of poor stuff from both sides, chances made but not taken.

Eight minutes from the end Ben Futcher netted from a corner, as full-back Matthew Doughty all but kept the ball out of the net by the post.

Rochdale must have had Saturday's encounter with Coventry in the FA Cup on their minds as very little went right for them.

They were eager enough to get in front with Doughty, Clive Platt and Lee McEvilly all going close and Lincoln had their unhappy moments too with Futcher seeing his goalbound shot deflected over the top by a colleague.

Late on Lincoln became more aggressive and Richard Butcher went close on a couple of occasions before Futcher finally got that winner.

Peter Gain also gave Rochdale a fright with a fierce shot that was fisted away by Neil Edwards.

Generally Rochdale defended well and their big weakness was their inability to out-head a lofty central defence which Lincoln presented.

McEvilly did his best to get his name on the scoresheet but he was substituted with 20 minutes to go and Kevin Townson fared no better.

Dale striker Platt made little progress this time and the best performance overall came from the Lincoln defence who kept the home attack fairly quiet.

But on a night of disasters all round, the City back-line performed well enough to earn three points.

There was a shred of hope when Rochdale brought on their player-manager Paul Simpson, but apart from putting in a couple of troublesome shots the change was too late to make a lot of difference.

Stuart Bimson did well in the City defence and once or twice he moved upfield to create problems for the home defence.

A couple of great saves Edwards kept the result in doubt until Futcher got his winner, but really it was a pretty poor performance by Rochdale and Lincoln's was not all that much better, but thy probably they deserved the three points.