Rochdale mens 2s took on Northern mens 1s away on Saturday and hopes were high going into the match with the knowledge that a win would put Rochdale at least second, but it was not too be.

Both teams started nervously, with Rochdale taking advantage of some wayward passing to get, what was to be, their only short corner in the first half. The move saw a D top strike put just wide of the left post.

Starting to find ways around the Rochdale high press, Northern got the ball into the Rochdale D with a 1 on 1 that resulted in a controversial penalty flick being awarded, which was swiftly converted into Northerns first goal.

Rochdale created a few half chances but to no avail and whilst trying to draw Northern on to them, the defence attempted to play out from the back, but ball was gathered by a Northern forward who put the ball across for a tap in.

Captain Close tried to appeal for a clear stick obstruction on a defender but the umpires were not in the mood to change their minds. With a controversial two goal advantage Northern now started to breath more easily and started to show why they are top of the league with some fantastic hockey being played.

Two good strikes to finish off some good moves gave them another two goals, which were not disputable to give them a four nil lead at half time.

A good break at half time and a strong team talk improved Rochdale after the break, though a quick goal from Northern made a come back nigh on impossible. With grit and determination to get something from the game, Rochdale soldiered on and earned a consolation goal with a brilliant top D reverse stick effort from Kieran Hunter.

Vice Captain Graham Broadley ‘This was largely a poor day from Rochdale’s perspective which shows as far as they have come, they have much still to learn. Hopefully days like these will be the making of success in the future for the team and improve the appetite for improvement. It is a big squad with a few changes since the Christmas break that needs time to settle.”