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Rochdale 2-2 Stevenage
by Layth Yousif
Elliott List twice pulled managerless Stevenage level as they sealed a hard-earned point in a 2-2 draw at Rochdale on Tuesday evening.
Dale went ahead in the fifth minute when Liam Kelly’s corner was met by Corey O’Keeffe, who headed past Boro keeper Adam Smith after being fed by Jake Beasley.
Beasley could have doubled Dale’s lead 13 minutes later when his header beat Smith, but the ball bounced narrowly wide.
Stevenage, led by caretaker boss Robbie O'Keefe for the third match since the sacking of Alex Revell, equalised through top scorer List, who made it 10 goals from 20 matches in all competitions this term.
The highly-rated 24-year-old fired past Rochdale keeper Jay Lynch from just inside the box, to make it 1-1 on 28 minutes, after Elliot Osbourne teed up Boro’s lively striker.
Josh Andrews then put the home side 2-1 ahead nine minutes before the interval — but that was before the ever-impressive List danced past Dale keeper Lynch to slot home from close range, to make the score 2-2 moments after the break.
In an open game at the well-appointed Spotland, the home side, led by Robbie Stockdale, could have gone ahead again, but Dale right-back O’Keeffe fired inches wide of Smith’s far post when well placed.
Boro substitute Arthur Read drilled a long-range low shot just past home keeper Lynch’s woodwork, as both sides sought victory, with Andrews’s header kept out by Stevenage keeper Smith after the hour mark.
As the clock ticked down Rochdale, prompted by the impish Liam Kelly, could not break down the visitors’ backline, as both teams picked up a share of the spoils.
Speaking after the game, temporary boss O’Keefe said: “Although we weren’t great in the first half, I thought we showed real resilience and character in the second half to stay in the game, as it could easily have ebbed away from us. I can’t speak highly enough of the whole team.”
The draw saw Dale slip to 14th position, while Stevenage remain in 21st spot, five points off the relegation places, with the club “working hard” to appoint a new manager before Saturday’s trip to Tranmere.
LEAGUE TWO ROUND-UP
In other League Two matches, a Matty Stevens double spoiled Barrow boss Mark Cooper’s return to his former club, as Forest Green Rovers moved five points clear of second place Exeter. The table toppers from Nailsworth beating strugglers Barrow 2-0 in front of 1,842 at the New Lawn.
Rovers’ lead was stretched after second place Matt Taylor’s Grecians lost 3-1 to Colchester United, their first defeat in 15 matches stretching back to August.
Swindon showed character to come back from a goal down to beat Hartlepool 3-1 and move up to third in the table, while 10-man Port Vale fell to a home defeat by Walsall, while Dom Telford salvaged a point for Newport with an 84th-minute strike as the Exiles sealed a 1-1 draw at Crawley.
A second-half comeback helped Tranmere a 2-1 win against Bradford, as Micky Mellon’s side grabbed their first triumph in six games, while the Bantams have now gone four without a win.
Salford scored an injury-time leveller against Bristol Rovers to draw 1-1 in front of 1,740 at the Peninsula Stadium, despite ending the match with nine men, while Sutton United moved to seventh with a 2-0 victory over Mansfield, boosted by Omar Bugiel’s first league goal since the opening day of the season.
Keith Curle lost on his return to Sixfields as his Oldham side were beaten 2-1 by Northampton.
Carlisle made it 12 games without a league win when they lost 2-0 to Harrogate in front of 3,172 fans at Brunton Park, while bottom side Scunthorpe claimed a point from a 1-1 draw at home to Leyton Orient.
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