Hockey: Didsbury Northern Men's 5ths 4 - 2 Rochdale Men's 2nds
Date published: 25 October 2023
Photo: Rachel Jackson
Tristan Mulgrew put in another very impressive display for his young years
Saturday 21 October saw Rochdale Men's 2nds away at their home away from home, the Armitage Centre in Manchester against Didsbury Men's fifths. After the horrible weather Friday, caused by storm Babet, it was nice sunny conditions on the day.
Rochdale started brightly, taking the game to Didsbury with a nice and high defensive line. Some good chances were created early on, with both wings being used and some promising balls being shelled in from central areas, that didn’t quite manage to find the forwards.
Didsbury were good on the counter though and looked promising when coming through at pace. These counters were largely dealt with by man of the match Niall Baker, with youngster Liam Haywood doing very well in his first shift at right back and the experienced quality of Mikey Bohanna kept them at bay on Rochdale’s left. Eventually though a breakaway down the left, found a Didsbury forward who looked like he had nowhere to go on the baseline, with his options cut off. He managed to carry the ball inside and find a gap before he could be tackled, to give Didsbury the lead.
A second Didsbury goal would be added a little later, from a penalty corner. Most of the options were cut off, but they managed to switch the ball to their left, strike a pass in, which was then deflected in to double Didsbury’s advantage.
Rochdale were still playing the more creative hockey and would get a goal back before halftime. Manny Ahmed making some more exciting runs down the right drew the defence across. He the played the ball back central to centre back Graham Broadley on the 23m line. Normally the ball had been set for hard hits, but this time it was injected with a quick slap hit. High level goal scorer/captain Adam Massey read it and sprinted to meet it, deflecting it first time into the top corner, to leave Didsbury’s defences mouths open as wide.
The half time score was 2-1 to Didsbury, but the boys in orange were very much still in it. It was a positive team talk at half time, as it had been a competitive first half and the game could still go either way. Rochdale just needed to keep going and focus on the little victories, trying to get enough of them to get a big victory of some points.
Rochdale again started brightly and took the game to Didsbury. Tristan Mulgrew was doing an excellent job on the right wing, routinely going round players and creating his own space, proving the age old adage of if you're good enough, you're old enough, in his first season after coming from Rochdale's juniors to compete at the men’s level.
Didsbury almost put the game to bed on a counter attack. A forward broke into the circle, Dean Close in net came out and changed the direction of the ball, but was deemed to have fouled the forward with his clearance and a penalty flick was awarded. Not being intimidated or giving up, Close channelled his anger and saved the flick to keep the away team in the game.
Rochdale got back level, after a brilliant run from Bjorne Brauns got him in the circle with several defenders trailing in his wake. He unleashed a fierce shot, which the keeper saved, but Dan MacDonald was on hand to smash it in on the rebound.
It was to be short lived though. Kane Morgan got injured by a ball to the the ankle, which stopped him running and his legs were a big miss. A Didsbury player came on fresh and wreaked havoc with the Rochdale back line. He scored one himself and set another up, after some magnificent solo efforts, to put Didsbury 4-2 up.
The away team had run out of steam a bit, with only having one substitute, but they kept battling to put in a performance and keep the goal difference as healthy as possible. Towards the end of the game they were even throwing in slide tackles to deny the home team any more goals.
The final score was Didsbury 4 - 2 Rochdale.
It was good to see us being able to compete again today and put in a good performance, in another match that could have gone either way. We played out from the back a lot better and controlled most of the possession today. The lads got the main objective right and put a good performance in, that was in the right spirit. We just need to focus on the little victories and try and turn them into big ones. Lots of positives today, we created a lot, there was some good defending, the juniors were stepping up and playing well, we showed great fighting spirit and we didn’t get any cards.
Next Saturday (28 October) Rochdale have a cup match against Didsbury 4ths at home 2pm push back at Oulder Hill, any support welcome.
Man of the match went to Niall Baker, for an outstanding performance, solid in defence and committed and creative going forward.
Report by Graham Broadley
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