Hockey: Rochdale Men's 1sts 2 - 3 Southport Men's 1sts

Date published: 09 October 2023

After a draw and a loss in their opening two games of the league season, Rochdale were looking for their first win at home to Southport on Saturday 7 October. The game started off slowly with both teams looking like they didn't want to concede an early goal as chances were limited at both ends.

Dale opened the scoring just before the half hour mark through defender Scott Hempsall-Jones from a penalty corner, slipped left with his low, drilled finish into the bottom corner being too much for the away keeper.

Rochdale had made a bad habit of conceding straight after scoring in the last two matches and looked to keep things tight but couldn't do so again, the ball was turned over cheaply leaving the opposition a 2 v 1 opportunity to score that they duly took, to make it 1-1 at the break.

Dale's heads were down during the halftime talk, and the start to the second half didn't help to boost their confidence. Southport scored two goals in the opening five minutes to go 3-1 up. Having discussed not wasting possession and giving the ball away cheaply, Dale were their own worst enemies again. A long ball from the back intercepted on both occasions leading to the opposition scoring, the first through a penalty corner, the second through a lifted strike at the top of the D that had too much for keeper Jimmy Deacy.

Rochdale did rally after the two goals which seemed to spur them into life a little. Passing was better and there was more intensity about the team across the pitch. Dale scored a second goal with seven minutes to go through captain Michael Waddicor with another penalty corner finish from the top of the D, and although they toiled away, the home team couldn't find an equaliser.

Man of the match Dan Bowe after the game said: "We have ourselves to blame again. We started slow, we weren't up for it from the start. We need to start games faster. We are low on confidence but we can turn it around. We showed that in the last 20 minutes of the game but we need that consistency throughout."

Without a win in the league in three games, Dale will be looking to record three points in a tough away match at Stockport Bramhall next Saturday (14 October).

Report by Stuart Dearden

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