Rochdale 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2 match report: Stuart Gray is rewarded with a job after Owls triumph

Caretaker manager is confirmed in a full-time role shortly after victory

Spotland Stadium

Stuart Gray, a man who has had the word caretaker affixed to his name more often than Harold Pinter, guided Wednesday into the fifth round of the FA Cup, but only after a little too much drama in the second half.

It was enough to see him confirmed as head coach on a permanent basis after the game, but his last match as temporary steward was far from straightforward.

All was going according to script at Spotland, with the visitors leading 2-0 early in the second half. A couple of twists changed the plot-line, however and left Wednesday relieved to have survived.

The first came when the Rochdale captain, Michael Rose, lashed in a spectacular 25-yard volley, just as the rain turned to hail at this notoriously bleak stadium.

If that introduced an element of the unexpected to proceedings, then so too did the sending-off of the Owls’ left-back, Joe Mattock, for a second yellow card following a trip on George Donnelly on the edge of the penalty area.

“Joe’s a bit disappointed,” said Gray. “It was one of those 50/50 decisions that went against him.”

That added to the pressure as Dale tried to emulate the achievement of ten years ago, when they beat Coventry City to reach the fifth round. Hard though the current Rochdale side strove, they never quite looked like matching that.

Wednesday have been in prime form since sacking David Jones and putting Gray in temporary charge – the fifth club to have used him in that capacity – with a recent record that includes a 6-0 win over Leeds United.

But Dale themselves have been growing in confidence of late, rising as high as second in League Two and beating Leeds in the third round of the Cup.

They matched a club with rather more Cup pedigree than them in the first half, limiting Wednesday to a couple of unconvincing efforts on goal while always looking to hit back on the break.

The were kept at bay, however, by a well-drilled offside trap and the goalkeeping of Damian Martinez, currently on-loan at Hillsborough from Arsenal and preferred on the day to the former England international, Chris Kirkland.

His best save was from Scott Hogan’s header, but at the other end Dale sometimes found themselves struggling against the physical threat of the massive Albanian-Austrian, Atdhe Nuhiu.

When Wednesday made their double breakthrough, however, it was two defenders – and Dale’s failure to deal with two set-pieces – that they had to thank.

First Mattock had the moment of the match he will prefer to remember when he got the final touch on a corner flicked on from the left.

Then Oguchi Onyewu (pictured) fired in from six yards after the home side failed to clear one from the right.

The dramatic tension was still to come. “For us to go down to 10 men, suddenly it was an FA Cup tie,” Gray said.

Soon after he was confirmed in his full-time position on a two-and-a-half year deal. Given Wednesday’s excellent current form, that decision was something of a no-brainer.

Rochdale (4-4-2): Lillis; Bennett (Camps, 73), O’Connor, Eastham, Done; Vincenti (Cummins, 66), Allen (Donnelly, 60), Lund, Rose; Henderson, Hogan.

Sheffield Wed (4-4-2): Martinez; Palmer, Loovens, Onyewu, Mattock; Maguire, Lee, Semedo, Maghoma (Coke, 81); Lavery (Helan, 67), Nuhiu (Johnson, 80).

Referee: Simon Hooper.

Man of the match: Maguire (Sheffield Wednesday)

Match rating: 4/10


Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform