Hockey: Rochdale Men's 2nds 2 - 6 Timperley Men's 4ths

Date published: 01 March 2024

Saturday 24 February saw Rochdale Men’s 2nds at home to Timperley Men’s 4ths. Timperley are in the top three and competing for promotion. They have a goal difference of over 80 and beat Rochdale 14-0 in the reverse of this fixture, in a very one-sided game. Hopes of a win were not high, but the lads were told to enjoy the pressure being off, enjoy the hockey and stick to what they are good at.

​The match started with Timperley’s push back. They were patient in the build-up, bringing the ball back and switching it from side to side, to try and find the opening. Eventually it was broken down on Rochdale’s right and the game got going. In the opening fifteen minutes the home side surprised everybody. They were playing good hockey, getting into Timperley’s D and winning a few penalty corners.

​A bad spell started, as a mis-hit pass across the back got picked off by a Timperley forward. Young, quick and well drilled he made no mistake in his one-on-one situation. He drove straight at the D, saw the keeper coming and slotted it when he had no chance of getting it. A good finish from a talented youngster. The home side didn’t crumble, but more was to follow.

​Timperley changed strategy for the next fifteen minutes. Instead of spreading themselves, they concentrated the attack down one channel, bringing the right winger in for an attack down the left, creating an overload in the centre. This allowed them to get a two on one in the centre, fire a pass to the back post and tap it in for a second goal.

This tactic worked well for a time, as it took a while for Rochdale’s defence to adjust, bringing their full backs across with the wingers, making them defend more centrally. Timperley won a lot of penalty corners, scoring off two of them. The first one was a switch to Rochdale’s right, the post man stayed on the line and got his stick down to it, but it spilled into the goal. The second was a breakdown in Timperley’s routine, the ball went to Rochdale’s left. A two-stage cross came in, the initial pass went top D and then to the back post for a tap in again.

​It was always going to be a tough day at the office for the home side, playing against in shape 20-year-olds, who train twice a week at a hockey club with over a hundred-year history and a mention on Wikipedia as the first hockey club in the north of England. However, Timperley wouldn’t have their own way today. Rochdale adapted to the new situation and won a penalty corner of their own. The ball was injected to the top of the circle to Joseph Shannon, who slipped it to Adam Massey. He carried the ball to the right, before flicking it into the bottom corner, past the unsighted keeper, to get a goal back for the home team, in a well-rehearsed routine. Halftime score 4-1 to Timperley.

​All in all it wasn’t a bad half for Rochdale, considering who they were playing against on the day and it being the first season back in that division, after last years promotion. Just some gentle coaching points about the way Rochdale were playing and what to look out for in the second half.

​The second half started with Rochdale’s push back. Again the home side started well and enjoyed some good spells of possession, creating several chances. A second goal was added as well, from being able to press high. Massey won a 50/50 and drove to the baseline. He worked it in and put the ball across towards Shannon. The defender tried to intercept, but only succeeded in deflecting it into his own net.

​For a time, it looked like the comeback might be on, but Timperley’s superior fitness and drilling it started to tell as the half wore on. They were trying to do some complicated stuff, with one touch passing and first-time layoffs. It was picked off or messed up on most occasions, but when it came off it was very effective. Man of the match Dean Close was forced to make many fine saves as the half wore on. One of the best was after he dived to save the initial shot, he got up and kneed the follow up shot over the bar.

​There were many others, involving fine work with stick, pads and a great all-round performance showing how much he has improved since volunteering as a goalkeeper this season. Timperley were limited to just two more goals in the second half, which goalkeeper Close and the Rochdale defence had a big hand in. To quote coach Imran Ansari, he was flabbergasted by how well the team defended against the highest scoring team in the league. the final score was Rochdale 2 - 6 Timperley.

​This game was always going to be a tough one. Rochdale gave a much better account of themselves this time, in parts playing well and doing a decent job defensively for most of the match, considering what they were facing.

It was a good opportunity to have areas for improvement highlighted and see what the team needs to improve on. For now though, the players can take some pride in making Timperley 4ths look human and just an average title winning side, rather than the completely unplayable overlords they looked the last time the teams met.

Rochdale 2nds have a week break, then they are at home to Bowden on 10 March.

Report by Graham Broadley

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