Rochdale leap into play-off places with fifth successive win
Resurgent Rochdale made it five successive league wins with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Southend at Spotland.
First-half goals from Niall Canavan and Calvin Andrew were supplemented by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s late strike as Dale moved into the play-off places just a month after sitting bottom of League One without a win.
The home side were in charge from the start and made the breakthrough after 18 minutes.
Dale were awarded a free-kick on the right after Adam Barrett’s attempt to wrestle Andrew to the ground and Joe Bunney’s set-piece was perfect for defender Canavan, who sent a thumping header into the roof of Mark Oxley’s net.
It was 2-0 after 27 minutes when Joe Rafferty’s delivery was only partially cleared before both Mendez-Laing and Andrew had efforts blocked. But on the second occasion the loose ball ran for Rafferty and his cross was headed home by Andrew.
The Shrimpers offered nothing going forward in the opening half, and precious little after the break, with Dale goalkeeper Josh Lillis enjoying a trouble-free afternoon.
Aaron Morley, a 16-year-old making his league debut for the home side, went close to a third for Dale, his curling effort from 18 yards clipping the outside of Oxley’s post.
Mendez-Laing netted the third in the 84th minute, racing onto Steven Davies’ through ball and beating Oxley to wrap up a routine win.