Hockey: Timperley Mens 4ths 7 - 0 Rochdale Mens 2nds
Date published: 15 October 2021
Photo: Rachel Jackson
Richard Saggerson once again shone in defence
Rochdale travelled away to league leaders Timperley on Saturday 9 October for what proved to be a thrilling contest from both sides. The home team were coming into the game unbeaten so far at this early stage of the season, with a thumping opening day victory and edging a close encounter the previous weekend.
Rochdale's results have been less favourable so far and they came into the third match of their league season with zero points. Marking his league debut in one of a few changes for the away side was Affan Burki lining up in midfield, Richard Saggerson taking a left back position in place of Dave Jackson with Graham Broadley starting at the heart of defence with Dave ‘Mini’ Marlow. Brian Robinson stepped in to replace Dean Colasurdo as goalkeeper with the veteran keen to enjoy another game before his retirement.
Timperley started the game off at a frantic pace catching the away side off guard with their direct running and confidence with the ball, the defence staying on their toes had to be called into action in what was only seconds into the game, firstly Broadley tackling just outside the D, for the ball to come back resulting in a free hit just outside the D. With Timperley setting the early tone of the contest, Rochdale needed to stay alert and alert they as they quickly re-grouped into a compact shape to stifle the home team and counter on break. With both sets of players finding their feet on the ball, Timperley were looking the more dangerous with an early short corner only to be palmed out by Robinson and cleared by Saggerson for a long corner which Rochdale saw out with a sense of determination not to concede early at any cost.
The game started to balance after the early scare as the away side started to gradually grow collectively and individually with great passages of play to break down a well experienced Timperley. With Marlow partnering Broadley at the heart of defence, with the former displaying great vision with his passes from deep in the away sides half to initiate swift breaks, Affan strutting down the middle with his close ball control skipping past the midfield and linking well with a fired up Bjorne Brauns causing some concern for the home team's defence with his directness on the ball. A quick release finding Kane Morgan, with little room to work with he found space to manoeuvre away from his marker, only to be picked off by another defender just before his shot.
The home team pushed forward for a goal, but with a surprise change in formation for the away side, the Rochdale side started to play smarter hockey against the individual brilliance of the home team. Using the channels with some delicate passing, the away side started to slice through with greater ease as Manny Ahmed grew into the game in the final third and skipper Adam Massey dropping deep into pockets of space from a forward position, the hockey starter flourished with Stephen Hirst joining the fray for much needed potency during Rochdale's stronger plays.
The game would soon sway in Timperley's direction as they showed why they were early league pace setters going into the game by going one nil up. A well worked goal from the home side catching the orange faithful out for a tap in at the far post. This did not dampen the mood for the away side as they responded kindly with a few chances in quick succession, firstly Bjorn dancing his way into the opposition D, his low push down to the right of the goalkeeper brought out instant save. Morgan was to have a similar chance with a crisply timed hit, but again the goalkeeper saved with his feet.
Rochdale would soon find themselves two nil behind shortly after those close moments, when James Trainor bravely prevented a dangerous move to calmly play the ball to Adam Boodeea, with Rochdale looking to break, the young rookie’s pass to Ahmed was easily picked off for a turn over. In two moments of uncertainty for the away side after not playing to the whistle, Timperley took full advantage as they continued to rightfully play on and easily score past a stranded Brian Robinson. It was bitter blow for Rochdale as they showed greater promise in search of an equaliser.
Timperley started to dictate tempo, with predominately their focus down their right side but after a few half chances going wide, Saggerson started to get the better of his opposite number snuffing out any play down his left channel, whilst also showing some attacking intent with some successful ventures deep into the opposition’s half.
The away side got back into the rhythm and more chances for goals followed, Affan now probing for an opening, started to dominate proceeding in the later stages of the game, some precision dribbling to wriggle past a few challenges and eventually draw fouls in the opposition’s half created much needed time to slow things down for reinforcements to join in. With Trainor providing useful energy down the right side, his bursts forward started to cause indecisiveness amongst the Timperley defence as he flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal missing a fully stretched Bjorne for a goal. With Ahmed ticking things over a good pass found Massey for another opportunity, the skipper took the ball first time for a clever two man run from Morgan and Bjorne, only to agonisingly miss both players in dangerous positions. Another ball from Ahmed almost found Kane for a turn on shot, but the midfielder's pass was too strong for the striker to capitalise.
Timperley were forced to soak up more pressure after finding themselves down to ten men in a bizarre moment during their own rotations of substitutions. With the umpires spotting a twelfth man on the field, the league official had no choice but to brandish a yellow to home team captain. The away side poured moreplayers forward with Trainor linking up further down the field with Morgan, his cut back to the top of the D eluding the awaiting skipper for a defender to clear, closing the half as a stronger team going into the interval.
Rochdale may have found themselves two nil down but the platform of hockey displayed as a team against a far more superior individual display from the home side was exactly what made the first half such an entertaining spectacle.
Shortly after the break, a quick push out created a rare moment for the away side as the skipper managed to loft a pass deep into the home side's defence for Bjorne to pick up on the bounce, only for the umpires to deem it a foul by Bjorne. The match turned in on itself as Timperley started to go up a few gears with some great individual brilliance and soon the short corners started to come in waves. A combination of agile goalkeeping from the now busier Robinson and commanding display in tackling from Broadley kept the Timperley men at bay momentarily. The home side were to extend their lead with two quick fire goals to go up four nil as Rochdale started to unconventionally waver early.
Despite the early promise of the first half, the players started lose their way and the tried and trusted short passing started to fade a little which led to the hurry inflicting more harm and with Robinson having to be called into action on multiple occasions. After facing a slugfest of chances from Timperley the away team rallied with some vocal support by the senior players and slowly the pattern changed into a balanced state.
At four nil down Rochdale started to play at a higher tempo, Marlow setting things off each time for a quick sixteen, the away team started to enjoy a great passage of play with fresher legs rotating from the side and rhythm was at its peak. All players started to shine simultaneously regardless of the score, with Affan taking centre stage, Michael Bohanna overlapping down the channels and a quiet Dean Close starting to turn into a focal point in the D with one chance creeping off the near post and a first of two duels against the goalkeeper, as the latter rushed to meet both ball and Close to clear, much to the winger’s frustrations. The chances didn’t stop there as Morgan, eager to find his first goal of the season, was twice denied by a goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet. After a clever pick up off balance the forward found his feet in the D to draw a half save from the keeper and allow the defender to clear, denying the forward a second bite at the cherry.
As ruthless as Rochdale were getting into the opposition’s D, Timperley did one better, a fifth goal was inevitable as both teams were still finding ways to create chances. A slick breakaway for the home side saw the forward one v one with Robinson, with the keeper rushing out the forward scooped the ball over his head to perfectly hit the net on the bounce. It drew applause from both sides for the genius move and the opposition joining in the applause is a well appreciated gesture for any hockey enthusiast.
Rochdale's mood had not dampened throughout but the teamwork was not enough to match the individual brilliance of Timperley from the years of playing a higher stand of hockey. The character shown by the away side was a testament to the good work going on behind the scenes, as youngsters Trainor, Boodeea and Hirst all shone in a match against the best players they have had to face this season, indeed in their relatively short hockey career so far.
Chances had come for both sides throughout this thrilling encounter of hockey much to the delight of the small crowd watching on the sidelines. But where Rochdale faltered the home side showed why they were top of the league showing no mercy in front of goal as six turned to seven nil, edging closer to the eight one thumping they handed out to Bolton Mend 2nds on the opening day of the season.
In contrast to their first game, it was a mighty fight to reach a seven-goal margin against an equally impressive Rochdale as they closed the game on top with a flurry of late chances, a short corner slip to the skipper Massey saw his effort bounce over the keep wide of the post. The next was a double chance from Close, who found space in the D to strike his second effort wide after the first kindly rebounded back into his path.
It was frustration on the faces of the away side but they continued to come closer and closer, some good link up play from Saggerson down the left with young Boodeea as the away side switched play as their range of passing started to flourish. Morgan and Hirst was next to display some chemistry between with some clever link up play and it was Hirst driving the away side forward at great pace out-pacing the tiring legs of the home team to find his delivery almost tapped in at the back post.
Rochdale, thoroughly enjoying their best possession of play, had one last mighty chance for that one elusive goal, some neat work from Ahmed and Affan drew out Massey in a wide position, his punt across the D finding Boodeea on the far post, his hit back across to goal was kept out by the Timperley defenders to maintain the clean sheet. The match had ended in a 7-0 score line for Timperley who admittedly felt the score line could have been closer, as the away side deserved a better outcome from their display.
Rochdale face Horwich Mens 1sts on Saturday 16 October at Oulder Hill in similar form to Timperley for what is normally a closer contest between both and expected to be another enjoyable game as Rochdale edge closer to finding an end product in their game whilst also looking to avoid another defeat.
Affan Burki was named Rochdale's man of the match.
Brian Robinson, Michael Bohanna, Graham Broadley, Dave ‘Mini’ Marlow, Richard Saggerson, Manny Ahmed, Affan Burki, Adam Massey (c), Dean Close, Stephen Hirst, Bjorne Brauns.
Substitutes: Adam Boodeea, James Trainor, Kane Morgan.
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