It was a long time coming, but Accrington’s second victory of 2013 was well worth the wait and, for the 200 or so travelling supporters, well  worth the short trip down the road to Spotland.

Denied the added spice of Stanley legend John Coleman’s presence in the Dale dugout

following his dismissal last month, victory was no less sweet coming as it did against Keith Hill and his charges.

Without an away win since November, Accrington left Dale completely shellshocked in the 76th minute when Lee Molyneux sent a thunderous

30-yard strike into the top right-hand corner of Josh Lillis’ net.

Hill himself later described it as ‘worldy’, and his players were clearly stunned by the sheer quality of the goal out of nothing, so much so that they were statuesque minutes later when he fired home another contender for goal of the season.

This time it was a 25-yard free-kick whipping past Lillis at fiercesome pace, again finding the top corner of the helpless keeper’s net.

Rommy Boco added the

finishing touch, netting a third in the 88th minute after Lillis had pushed James Beattie’s effort – following a cross from that man Molyneux – onto the crossbar.

Reds’ boss Leam Richardson was full of praise for super sub Molyneux, citing his impact as the most impressive he’d seen.

“That was probably the best 20-minute display I’ve seen from a substitute,” he enthused.

“The lad has come on having not played in the last couple of matches and has made a real impact.

“That’s what you want. He is a great player, has all the attributes and that is how to react to being out of the team.

“The first goal was fantastic, the second is right up there and then he’s cut a cross on a sixpence for us to score the third. I’d asked him to go and affect the game, and he’s certainly done that.”

The home side started brightly and were close to taking the lead when Michael Rose crossed for Jason Kennedy but the midfielder headed wastefully wide from eight yards.

Stanley had suffered the early blow of losing defender Mark Hughes to an awkward fall, but Tom Aldred, his replacement, played his part in a solid backline, frustrating the few opportunities Dale managed to create.

After the break, with the game increasingly stretched, the visitors started to find inroads in the Dale defence.

Still, when Molyneux broke the deadlock it was a bolt out of the blue, a hammer blow from which groggy Rochdale never recovered.

“The lads stuck to their task really well,” said Richardson. “Rochdale played some good stuff in the first half and it took us a while to get involved, but once we did that after half-time we started to get the ball in front of us, break up play quite well and countered to good effect.

“Rochdale had a lot of possession without creating many chances. They played some nice stuff which was pleasing to watch, but I felt we dealt with it defensively.

“They were three fantastic goals to win the game, and I think we’ve deserved that for the last month.

“You don’t deserve to play well every week, but what you can do is work hard, and if you do that you will get your rewards, and I felt we got ours on the night.

“That win has been coming, you could sense it among the squad. We added a few players at the end of January and it was always going to take a couple of weeks for them to come together. We have a squad now with great belief and although we picked up a couple of injuries on the night we now have the players to replace them like for like. That’s great for me and for the team.”


Rochdale: Lillis, Bennett, P Edwards, Cansdell-Sherriff, Rose, Barry-Murphy, Tutte, Kennedy, Jones (Haworth, 60), Gornell (Donnelly, 71), Grimes. Subs not used: Rafferty, Logan, Collis, McIntyre, Pearson

Accrington: Rachubka, Murphy, Liddle, Joyce, Hughes (Aldred, 11), Winnard, Hunt, Gray (Molyneux, 60), Wilson (Linganzi, 60), Boco, Beattie. Subs not used: Hatfield, Miller, Carver, Dawber, Molyneux, Linganzi

Referee: A Madley

Att: 1780