Hockey: Rochdale Ladies 0 - 4 Didsbury Northern Ladies 5ths

Date published: 09 November 2023

It was an early start for Rochdale Ladies at the Armitage Centre in Manchester for their game against Didsbury Northern Ladies 5ths this weekend and it quickly became apparent that their opponents would use both the bounciness of the pitch and their impressive fitness to their advantage as they appeared to bring their whole team to both attack and defend.

Rochdale weren't about to let them have an easy time of it, however, as the midfield worked hard to close down Didsbury each time they tried to break. Especially Parton on the left wing, as she pushed and chased every ball that came into her zone, not letting Didsbury have any respite from her tenacity.

Partington made a number of excellent and key saves. Including times where she came off her line when Didsbury broke fast through a Rochdale press, trying to overload Rochdale, to close down their angles and to kick away their attempts to score before they presented to much of a danger.

Later, after stealing the ball from Didsbury as Rochdale pressed high to attack, Owen sent it flying down the pitch to find Burrell who had hung back in Didsbury's quarter. Burrell was able to collect it and run into the D, but Didsbury's keeper ran out to meet her and she was unable to get an angle on goal as she sent the ball wide.

Didsbury used their fitness and movement to try and drag the Rochdale defenders out of position, but they held well, learning where to focus and close down as their opponents crisscrossed through their D to minimise the gaps created by the movement. Partington made another great save when a shot towards her left post forced her to full stretch, just getting the toe of her boot  to the ball and sending it spinning off the backline safe from goal.

Despite the near relentless Didsbury attacks throughout the first half, that resulted in several Didsbury goals, Rochdale were able to regroup at half time and started to take more control of the game. They were able to hold possession more, and create more chances on goal, whilst their defence generally closed down the Didsbury attacks earlier.

Didsbury were still able to create their own shots on goal, but Partington was still on fine form as one of the Didsbury strikers tried to fling a high ball past her, but she just twisted to get her shoulder in the way and it bounced sideways away from the goal before harmlessly landing over the backline.

Rochdale were able to make better use of Hodcroft pairing up with both Parton on the left wing and Yates on the right to utilise quick, sharp passes to more easily evade their opponents to get into their D, which worked well. Unfortunately the Didsbury defence was strong and prevented them from capitalising on the chances they created.

In further display of her control of her D, Partington batted away a shot on goal from Didsbury, who then tried to desperately take advantage of multiple rebounds, but each time they fired another shot at her, Partington blocked each in quick succession, before her defenders we finally able to clear the ball out of the D.

When both teams were bogged down in the midfield, Burrell tackled and won the ball, then quickly turned to crack it down the pitch towards Didsbury's D for Hockaday to run onto. Unfortunately the pass was too far ahead of her for Hockaday to reach.

The final score was 0-4, with no Rochdale goal scorers.

Player of the match was Kie Leech and Daisy Parton. 

Captain Partington said: "Great play across all areas today, kept the pressure on when up against it. Loads of positives to move forward through the season, well done ladies!”

Rochdale's team:
Keeper; Sam Partington.
Defence; Claire Hoyle, Kieran Leech, Gill Owen & Hannah Palmer.
Midfield; Gemma Hodcroft, Daisy Parton, Roisin Pickering & Arabella Yates.
Forwards; Katie Burrell & Claire Hockaday.

Report by Hannah Palmer

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