Hockey: Rochdale Men's 2nds 1 - 2 Didsbury Men's 5ths

Date published: 15 February 2024

Saturday 10 February saw Rochdale Men’s 2nds take on Didsbury 5ths at home at Oulder Hill Leisure Centre. The home team had lots of substitutes this week, but so did Didsbury with both sides fielding full strength squads. The weather was good, being a nice spring like day.

​The match started at a good tempo, with both teams eager to score first. It was a little cagey initially, with much of the action concentrated around the middle third of the pitch. It was the home team who were going forwards more, but it was Didsbury who edged the opening exchanges, by winning turnovers and counter attacking at pace.

​Didsbury would get the opening goal from a counter down Rochdale’s right. They got the ball to their wide forward early on the 23m line. He carried the ball in to the top of the circle and hit it slightly wide of the post for their winger to tap it in, leaving the keeper no chance. It was a well worked goal that comes instinctively to a club with pedigree.

​Rochdale were not playing badly, and continued to create chances of their own. It was not long before they were back on level terms. The front line combined well, penetrating deep into Didsbury’s circle, allowing the second wave attack from midfield to come into play. The ball was pulled back and man of the match Niall Baker was on hand to dispatch an excellent lifted slap shot over the keeper to bring it back to one all.

​Half time followed about ten minutes after, with the game still fairly even, but neither side registering a single penalty corner. Some good words from coach Imran Ansari and the home side were good to go for the second half.

​There was some early pressure from Didsbury, with them winning a few penalty corners early on, but they were unable to convert them. Rochdale were largely on top ten minutes into the second half. Their high pressing game proving difficult for Didsbury to break down and the home side won a few penalty corners of their own, but again were unable to convert.

​The next goal would come against the run of play. Didsbury managed to find a gap in the Rochdale press and hit a ball to their forward. A quick one two with the other forward found him through on goal. The defence forced him wide, but he struck a sweet shot that went in off the post, with little anyone could do to stop it once struck.

​The rest of the half was pretty much all Rochdale, trying to find another equaliser. They came close a few times, striking the post from a penalty corner and having a few other occasions that required desperate defending to keep them out. Unfortunately, keep Rochdale out Didsbury did and the final score was Rochdale 1 - 2 Didsbury.

​It was a tough game today and an end to Rochdale's little run of two wins and a draw. Nevertheless, it was a good performance, with Rochdale in control for most of the match, just undone by a couple of moments of quality from experienced players and a capable side. Even though it is a defeat, considering Didsbury 5ths have been winning these games by six goals in recent times, the fact that Rochdale feel unfortunate not to get a draw out of it, shows how much the team has improved, but also how much further there is to go.

Man of the match was Niall Baker. Next week we are away at Stockport Bramhall.

Report by Graham Broadley

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