Saturday saw Rochdale men’s 2s return to competitive action following the winter break against Didsbury Northern men’s 6s with neither side started initially as they would have liked, Didsbury unable to put passes together and Rochdale trying to do to much, too soon.

However Rochdale settled into the game and Sean Carney stepped the press up a gear creating a turnover on the Didsbury 25. An alert Andy Meanock made himself available around the P spot, avoiding the temptation to go for goal himself, calmly returned the ball to Carney for a tap in.

Gaining the advantage, Rochdale dropped back to a half press, but it was soon evident that Rochdale had gone up a gear whereas Didsbury hadn’t. After some more promising play from the forwards, a clever move between Dean Close and Carney found the later smashing it in again with his reverse stick, for his second of the match.

Rochdale were well on top now and eager to press home the advantage. A driving run and a cross from the right found Scott Hempsall-Jones open in the D, with expert first touch with his back to goal, he allowed the ball to run past him and struck it with a clinical reverse hit into the top corner for Rochdale’s third.

Rochdale kept attacking as the momentum was with them, but Didsbury managed to catch Rochdale on the break to win a penalty corner on the stroke of half time. Fortunately it was well defended and cleared past the 25 to keep Rochdale 3 up at halftime.

Rochdale Captain Tim Liptrot decided to play tactically in the second half by ensuring Rochdale didn’t over commit to the attacks to maintain the advantage, rather than being caught by a sucker punch early in the second half. Rochdale kept Didsbury at bay for the opening 15 minutes, with only a few exchanges of attack. However Didsbury improved and were able to poke a shot in from a long corner through a crowded D and pull a goal back.

Rochdale didn’t crumble though and started to increase the pressure on the Didsbury defence. A driving and determined run from Ellis Barnes saw him bundle the ball into the Didsbury goal to restore Rochdale’s strong advantage. The game was pretty much over now, with Rochdale dominant.

A fifth would have been added were it not for Rochdale’s sportsmanship, Bjorn Brauns ruled out his own goal for a backstick that the umpires had not spotted. Final score 4-1 to Rochdale.

Captain Tim Liptrot, “It was a good first game back for Rochdale. I think the friendly the week before paid dividends, as we looked far sharper than the opposition after the Christmas break. It was difficult to pick a man of the match because there were a lot of good performances, however Peter Rogers was solid at the back throughout and offered something going forwards as well, earning him a well deserved Flying Horse Man of the Match. Hopefully this win will stand us in good stead for next Saturday’s home game against Bolton.”