The EFL League One match coming up this Saturday, 12 October 2019, between Rochdale A.F.C. and Accrington Stanley F.C. will take place at Spotland Stadium in Rochdale, Lancashire, England. It is an important match for both clubs, as they currently sit 19th and 18th respectively in the table, and will be looking to gain some separation between themselves and the relegation zone. Although they are still near the bottom of the standings, Accy has had a decent run of form, and are unbeaten over their past 4 matches. However, coming away with 1 point instead of 3 points in too many of those is the reason they haven't made much progress in the rankings. Their most recent match was a 2-2 draw with Oxford United F.C., but that result was by no means disappointing as Oxford came into the match as one of the hottest sides in the league. Rochdale, and the other hand, are winless in their past 5 matches, with 4 of those being losses. Last week they fell by a 3-2 score to AFC Wimbledon, in what was The Wombles first win all season. After a solid start, this poor run of from has seen The Dale free fall in the table.
Right now these two sides are separated by not only just 1 place, but also just 1 point in the standings with 11 points for Accrington, and 10 for Rochdale. Currently, AFC Wimbledon, with 6 points would be the last team relegate, and 3 points on Saturday go along way toward gaining some separation between themselves and the danger zone. Making the match even more critical is the fact that Wimbledon and Southend United F.C. play each other, making it likely that one of the teams below will come away from Saturday with 3 points of their own. So far this season Accrington has scored 2 more goals and allowed 1 fewer than Rochdale, but neither of those numbers suggest that either side has a significant advantage on either side of the ball. Located just over 15 miles apart, and with relatively frequent meetings, this has turned into a bit of a rivalry, albeit a rather one-sided rivalry in favor of The Dale.
Rochdale A.F.C. vs Accrington Stanley Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley iFollow or in the United States, and in the UK at 10:00 AM U.S. ET/3:00 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have Tom Nield as the referee, with assistants Christopher Ward and Thomas Harty, and the fourth official James Wilson.
Both clubs are free of suspensions, but each is has a but on the injury front. Accrington's Sean McConville's status continues to be in doubt as he misses time with a shoulder injury.
This will be the 15th meeting all time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Rochdale A.F.C. In the previous 14 meetings, Rochdale has won 11 times, Accrington has won 2 times, and there has been 1 draw. The most recent meeting between them was a 1-0 Rochdale win at WHAM Stadium in Accrington on 9 April 2019. Rochdale has won each of the past 4 match-ups between them, with Accrington not having beat Rochdale since all the way back on 26 February 2013.
Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Accrington has started the season off very slowly on the offensive end, but are beginning to show some signs. Last week's 2 goal output against Oxford was their first time scoring more than 1 goal in their past 5 matches. Making that more impressive is that Oxford had come into the match with 4 consecutive clean sheets. Accrington has also now scored at least 1 goal in each of their last 7 matches. Colby Bishop leads the club in scoring with 4 goals, and last week Jordan Clark added his 3rd goal of the year. Dion Charles has found the back of the net 3 times as well, so they are starting to spread around the scoring output some. Throughout this year they have battled with injuries and inexperience up front, but have gotten a boost with the recent return of Offrande Zanzala. Last Saturday, Zanzala subbed on at halftime, and was able to make an impact in scoring the equalizing goal. I wouldn't be surprised if John Coleman has him in the starting line up next to Bishop on Saturday.
The Dale have had an even more difficult time finding the back of the net than Accy has. They have managed just 12 goals through 11 games, with 5 of those coming from leading scorer Ian Henderson. Outside of Henderson, no one else on the club has scored more than 2 times, and only Callum Camps and Aaron Morley have scored more than once, with 2 goals each. Last season Henderson lead the club in scoring with 20 goals, and nobody else on the roster scored more than 4. As of this point in the season it looks as if that is likely to be the story for them again this year. However, Morley is just 19 years old and this is his first season getting regular playing time, so he is one to keep an eye on. Camps is not in his 5th season as a regular starter a The Dale, and a fine player, but he has never scored more than 8 goals in a season. 39-year-old Aaron Wilbraham has started the past 2 matches for them up front, he has plenty of experience, but is 5 years removed from a double figure scoring year, and it's hard to imagine he has much left in the tank.
Charged with keeping the ball out of the net for Rochdale is 21-year-old Spaniard Robert Sanchez. In 17 starts for Forest Green Rovers F.C. last season, Sanchez was outstanding in posting a 1.00 GAA. Stepping up a tier to League One, Sanchez has not found the going quite as easy. So far this year he has a 1.82 GAA and his save percentage sits just below 60%, at 59.2%. He has faced 49 shots through 11 matches, of just over 4 and a half per game, which is ranks them as fairly average defensively. For example, Ipswich goalkeeper Tomas Holy has faced just 30 shots on target this season, while AFC Wimbledon keepers have faced 68 shots this season. In other words, exactly halfway in between what a very good, or a very bad offensive team would allow. Rochdale's ironman on defense so far this year has been Rhys Norrington-Davies. The 20-year-old is in his first season with The Dale, but he has started every game and played every minute so far this year. He has also already added a goal and 2 assists from the left back position.
Ironically, Accrington goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov has also faced 49 shots in his 11 starts, and conceded 1 goal fewer than Sanchez. Last week Mr. Excitement certainly lived up to his name again, as the match ended with him literally holding onto the ball for dear life to prevent it from crossing the goal line as the final whistle blew. Although he won't admit it, Evtimov clearly has a knack for making the big stop at the end of game, as this was already the 3rd time that he has done it this year. Accrington's defense is their most experienced unit, and with guys like Ross Sykes, Callum Johnson, and Mark Hughes that have a set of guys that they can count on running out there for 90 minutes every week. Jerome Opoku has taken them to a different level, and this could turn into a special unit if Fulham F.C. loanee sticks with Accy all year.
Before I looked at the betting line, my thought was Accrington is fractionally better on paper, on a better run of form, but the match is at Rochdale. I my mind that should give us a line that has Accrington favored, but only by the most meager of margins. In reality, that is exactly what we have. Accrington is going off the board at 11 to 8 which means you are winning 11 quid for every 8 that you bet. Rochdale is at 7 to 4, or 14 quid in winnings for every 8 that you bet. This is what professional betters call a stay away game. Basically that means that if the line is exactly what you expect that it should be, then the casino is saying they don't really have a strong feeling one way or another about who is going to win. Furthermore, a draw is going off the board at 12/5, which is about the most common odds that draws go off at. In other words, the casino doesn't think this game is any more or less likely to end in a draw than the average game. The only thing interesting about this line is no uninteresting it is. Betting on this game is similar to throwing darts at a board blindfolded, run as far as you can if you see somebody trying it.
Rochdale A.F.C. vs Accrington Stanley Prediction
Rochdale beat Stanley by a 1-0 score both times that they met last year. As mentioned above, this series has been dominated by Rochdale, but before last year they had not met since 2014. Overall, this is a much different Accrington team, a very much similar Rochdale team from last season. Ultimately, I think Accrington has a better squad than Rochdale, and the oddsmakers seem to agree in favoring them on the road. I think these are 2 teams that are going in opposite directions, and that their respective form over the past month is more indicative of who they really are, than the results from August showed. This is going to be a hard fought game, and as seems to be the case anytime the words Lancashire and Derby are involved, will be one where every centimeter on the pitch is earned territory. Rochdale is a team that needs to play a conservative game plan because they simply don't have the scoring depth to play a faster pace. I think this is a game that will go into the half scoreless, and will ultimately be decided by which club cashes in on more of the 4 or 5 scoring chances that each will ultimately have. I will say that Dimi gets his second clean sheet of the year, and Jordan Clark continues his hot streak scoring the only goal of the match sometime after the 70th minute.
Prediction: Accrington Stanley - 1 Rochdale A.F.C. - 0