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Rochdale dedicate Checkatrade Trophy win to brave young fan who they named on the bench

 

ROCHDALE have been handed a home tie against Chesterfield in the first knock-out round of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Dale booked their place in the last 32 of the competition after winning 2-1 at Hartlepool on Wednesday night. Manager Keith Hill made the maximum number of changes allowed after Saturday’s FA Cup game at Maidstone United but Dale were still strong enough to get the win, with Reuben Noble-Lazarus and debutant Matty Gillam scoring either side of the break, before Pools grabbed a late reply.

Dale also made the extraordinary gesture of naming young fan Joshua McCormack as a substitute. The 5-year-old is terminally ill with a brain tumour and Hill dedicated the victory to the brave local lad.

“He has touched the hearts of everyone at Rochdale Football Club since we met him for the first time back in February,” said the Dale boss.

“No child should have to go through what Joshua is going through and we, as a club and a group of players, will continue to do whatever we can to support him and his family. We hope this one small gesture can bring some light to his family during this difficult time.

“Life’s about dreaming big and we hope that is one small dream that he’s realised.”

Dale’s win saw them finish top of their group, ahead of Sunderland’s Academy side, and also guaranteed them a home tie in today’s second-round draw, and they will be hopeful of getting past Chesterfield as their League One rivals are second-bottom in the table.

OLDHAM are also through after finishing second to Carlisle in their group. Latics were away to Blackburn’s Academy side on Tuesday night and twice equalised, Freddie Ladapo and Brian Wilson cancelling out efforts by Anthony Stokes and Liam Feeney to draw 2-2.

The two sides then had a penalty shoot-out to decide who would secure the bonus point, and Oldham won 5-4 to go through before being handed a trip to League One rivals Walsall. All second-round ties will be played in the week beginning December 5.

BURY finished their group campaign away to Stoke City’s youngsters on Tuesday night and youth product George Miller came off the bench to score his second senior goal. But former Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic, one of four senior players in the Stoke line-up, equalised with four minutes left before the hosts won 4-3 on penalties.

The Shakers had to wait and see if the four points they earned in their previous two games would be enough to qualify as Morecambe played Bradford on Wednesday night. The Shrimps won 3-2 to snatch second place and go through with Bradford so Bury bowed out without a losing a game in 90 minutes.

BOLTON finished bottom of their group after making six changes for their 1-0 defeat at Cheltenham, who went through with Blackpool.