Hockey: Rochdale Men's 2nds 2 - 0 Urmston Men's 2nds

Date published: 11 December 2023

Saturday 9 December saw Rochdale Men’s 2’s return to action after a couple of weeks off, due to frozen pitches. 

With both sides near the bottom of the table, it was really a 6-point game that Rochdale really needed to win. The weather was warmer and wetter, but the pitch had not flooded, so the game could go ahead.

​The two-week break (without being able to train either) hadn’t been kind to Rochdale, making a slow start to the game and finding themselves under some early pressure. Urmston were much quicker out of the blocks and managed to have possession in Rochdale’s half and create some early chances.

​Fortunately, these were largely dealt with by the home side's defence, with Urmston unable to find the final passes or connect with their shots, though Dean Close did make an early save or two. The closest Urmston came in this attacking spell was from their second short corner.

Thankfully (for the home team), the drag flick that was heading for the top corner, was skillfully batted away by Mike Bohanna, who also responded quickly to chase his own clearance away, to keep the score at 0-0.

​This ignited the change that saw the home side (in their black away kit) start to get to grips with the game and begin to control it. The wayward passes started to become fewer, the decision-making became a bit crisper and they started to find some openings, as well as penalty corners of their own.

​Spearheaded by Bjorn Brauns coming off the bench (due to an on-the-day injury scare in the warm-up), some strong attacks down the left began to happen, with the midfield linking up well with the forward line. The attacks down the right also got better, with James Trainor able to get further forward as the team pushed up. An opening goal for Rochdale came from a short corner. The ball went to the top of the circle, then quickly down the right, with Lee Robinson coming in from the left to sweep home the cross.

​Urmston still offered a bit coming forward, but Rochdale largely ended the half on top. The home side won a few more penalty corners and created a few good chances, but were unable to increase their lead. Some good coaching points made by second-team coach Imran Ansari, helped to get the team in the right frame of mind for the second half. There needed to be more passing; it needed to be quicker and further away from the defenders.

​With the coaching points taken on board, Rochdale were well on top, in terms of possession, for pretty much all of the second half, with Urmston unable to break out of their own half for large spells. Urmston were largely limited to a few counterattacks, registering only one shot on target in the second half.

​Rochdale added a second goal midway through the second half. An attack, at left back, was quickly worked up the left wing to Brauns. He drove into the circle wide, before coming back on himself and firing the ball goalward. Trainor was on hand to sweep the ball in with a reverse stick hit to double Rochdale’s lead.

​The home team kept control of the game for the remainder, but were unable to add any more goals. They created chances and penalty corners, but were more content to keep possession and see the game out, in what was really a six-pointer. It was good to see the work rate and enthusiasm remain high, despite heavy rain and cold winds setting in towards the end of the match.

​It was a difficult start with Rochdale not having played for two weeks and Urmston coming at the team as quickly as they did, but once Rochdale settled, they did well and put in a good performance.

Man of the match was Niall Baker, who had a great game at centre-mid, making numerous interceptions and helping stop Urmston from functioning. Under 17 man of the match was Tristan Mulgrew, who kept his enthusiasm high and had some good moments.

Next week is a rearranged match at home to Didsbury 4’s at 2pm, supporters welcome.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online