Hockey: Rochdale Men's 2nds 2 - 8 Buxton Men's 2nds

Date published: 16 January 2024

Saturday 13 January saw Rochdale Men’s 2nds return to action after the winter break, at home against Buxton Men’s 2nds in the reverse of the opening fixture of this season.

Hopes were high going into the match, as their first meeting had resulted in a close 4-3 defeat for Rochdale. The weather was largely clear but on the cold side, with a shower of rain coming in the second half. Both teams had a couple of substitutes.

​Buxton had the push back in the first half and put the home side under some early pressure. They patiently built attacks and pressed high on Rochdale’s 16 yard hit outs to make life difficult early on. Thankfully James Trainor did well at right back and started to get the ball higher up the pitch.

​Rochdale started to change the momentum midway through the half and the game started to be played more in Buxton’s half, with the revised press getting some results. A sideline hit just inside Buxton’s 23m line, on Rochdale’s left was recycled by Mike Bohanna to centre back Graham Broadley. He was looking to switch the play to the right, but spotted Adam Massey free at the D top and fired a cross in. Massey deflected it expertly towards the top corner, catching the keeper off guard it found its way in to give Rochdale the lead.

​Buoyed up by this early success, the home side pressed on looking for another. Unfortunately, the next goal would be an equaliser for Buxton. Getting a turnover on the edge of their D, Buxton quickly got the ball out wide on their right. The home side's defence weren’t prepared for a counter and the Buxton winger quickly carried the ball to the left hand side of the Rochdale D. The momentum was with them, they quickly squared the ball inside and struck it first time into the bottom corner to level the scores.

​The remainder of the first half was largely even, with both sides winning a few penalty corners. Rochdale probably came closest, having a couple of efforts cleared of the line, but were just lacking the polish on the routines to get another goal. Half time score was 1-1.

​A quick half time team talk from the captain, largely wanting more of the same, but with trying to get someone on the keeper for penalty corners and the lads were good to go again. The game plan had worked well in the first half, against a mid-table Buxton side. 

​Rochdale pushed back in the second half and took the game to Buxton. The opening exchanges were mostly in Rochdale’s favour, but the breakthrough would be set up from a Rochdale 16. An aerial ball over the top to Bjorne Brauns, got him driving hard and fast at Buxton’s back line, quickly getting inside their 23m line.

The centre back came in with a hard challenge. He did win the ball, but also gave Brauns a smash on the lower part of his shin, so the umpire quickly awarded a penalty corner. After walking it off, Brauns set himself at the top of the circle for the penalty corner. Receiving the injection here, he feinted right, went left and struck a hard reverse stick hit into the backboard to regain the lead for Rochdale.

The home side had done very well so far, but Buxton started to use their greater experience. Their high press started to get more effective, reinforcing the side the full backs were trying to get out of and packing the middle when Rochdale tried to play out that. Rochdale were also rocked by an injury to centre back Dave Marlow at this time and the confusion allowed Buxton to score a couple of quick goals.

The first was from a penalty corner, the initial strike was saved well by Dean Close, but Buxton picked up the rebound and threw a lob in, which the defenders on the line couldn’t keep out. The second was a quick ball in from open play to the Buxton forward, who created a yard of space and lashed a shot into the backboard. It wasn’t all over at this stage, with the score at 3-2, but after five or ten minutes the discipline went and the floodgates opened.

They were all pretty much the same goal. Rochdale were high on the halfway line, looking for a way back into the game. Possession was lost and Buxton broke through at pace with men over. Against teams like this, who know their jobs and have pace, it only ends one way most of the time.

The final score was Rochdale 2 - 8 Buxton.

This week’s man of the match was James Trainor. Under 17’s man of the match was Tristan Mulgrew.

Report by Graham Broadley

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