It was derby day on Saturday for Rochdale Ladies as they visited Oldhams home ground. Notorious for being a tough game Rochdale had never been as ready to take on the challenge. Not one to miss out on the fun Rochdale welcomed back last years captain Kieran Leech for this game.
The whistle to start the game was blown and the battle commenced. The game was pretty even at the beginning with both teams playing an attacking game. Rochdale’s defence of Becki Moon, Leach, Gill Knowles and Nikki Mongan as usual stood strong and there was no messing about. Each attack by Oldham was cleared and communication with each other was key.
A good 10 minutes had gone by before Rochdale decided to up the pace. Jenny Banks picked up the ball outside the D area, dribbled round 3 of Oldham’s defenders and slotted the ball past the stationary Oldham keeper.
Not a team to be deterred Oldham still battled and before long they found themselves back in the game with a well worked goal.
This spurred Rochdale on even more though and within minutes of Oldham’s goal Kate Burrell had scored to make it 2-1 with some clever passing beforehand. Substitutions were made by captain Becky Knowles and this proved positive as junior player Molly Barker was let loose and attacked the Oldham defence. The midfield duo of Paula McDonald and Gemma Hodcroft were proving too much for Oldham’s tiring midfield and with some intricate passing between themselves found Roisin Pickering on the wing who crossed it into the D to find Barker who fired the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-1. With 5 minutes to go of the first half Rochdale had most of the possession and there was time for one more attack. Pickering found herself with acres of space on the right wing. She drove it into the Oldham D area and pushed it past the keeper to make it 4-1 at half time.
With a 3 goal lead at half time captain Knowles decided to make a few changes and on came the newer players for a run out.
It was much of the same during the 2nd half as Rochdale saw themselves with most of the possession. Moon was showing everybody why she deserved a regular starting place on the team with an excellent defensive display. Rochdale soon found themselves on the scoresheet again with a expertly worked goal which was started and finished by Hodcroft. This was well deserved as she had worked tirelessly in the middle of the pitch.
The final whistle could not come soon enough for Oldham as they had been well and truly outplayed by a strong Rochdale side.
Captain Knowles ‘We were all well up for the game today. We love playing Oldham as it’s usually a great game. We have a lot of history with them and it’s always very satisfying to come away with a victory. We worked our socks off today and every one of the players played extremely well. To score 5 goals away from home just proves how confident and we are at the moment’.
Player of the match – Roisin Pickering