This weekend Rochdale ladies hosted a top of the league clash against Stockport Bramhall Ladies 3s, the only team currently above them. They wanted the win.

Unfortunately the pressure Rochdale put on themselves showed during the first half. Whilst their spirit and effort was through the roof, the nerves showed in their passes. Stockport were able to take advantage and keep the play in Rochdale’s defence zone. However, Rochdale were not easily deterred and some excellent defensive team work, and especially from Gill Owen, Kie Leech and Sarah Ransome.

Despite Rochdale able to clear the ball from their D numerous times, Stockport kept pushing, and were eventually able to get a lucky goal that finally deflected in off a number of players.

If it were possible, that made Rochdale even more determined to play their hearts out, and they fought for every ball and made some excellent tackles to hold the play in the middle. Eventually the ball found it’s way to Becki Moon – yet again playing midfield instead of defence – who managed to hold it expertly as Stockport desperately tried to steal it from her, before turning and launching it to Jenny Banks, who easily picked it up and took a shot on goal. Stockport’s keeper got a glove to it but was unable to save it.

The rest of the half continued the same way to leave the score still tied at one all at half time. Time for a quick team talk on passing and tactics and it was back to the match.

Now Rochdale seemed to have settled into their game, and were playing much smarter than they had in the first half. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop a sprinting drive on goal from Stockport who were able to pull ahead with another goal.

Rochdale threw themselves into the challenge, working well as a team unit to keep their players marked and creating opportunities to break through. This paid off as the attackers were given an opportunity on goal, that was well defended by Stockport, but Rochdale were ready to intercept and captain Roisin Pickering was able to pick up a deflection from Stockport’s defence and find her goal.

From then on the two teams were well matched to each other, both creating chances and stopping the other team’s. Presently the midfield were able to get it to Jenny Banks again, driving it into the D and taking her shot as soon as it counted and it landed comfortably into the goal. Unfortunately the whistle blowing for a foul just before she entered the D meant that it was disallowed, and the scoreline remained tied.

It was a tense finish for the match, as Rochdale gave away a short corner moments before the final whistle, allowing Stockport to push their entire team to attack. With the score currently tied it was a win-lose moment for both teams. Rochdale’s defence burst out from the goal as Stockport hit the ball out, as the rest of their team sprinted to help defend from the halfway line, but as they did Stockport didn’t catch the ball to keep the short and it went wide of play to end the match.

Final score was 2-2 to Rochdale, with goal scorers Jenny Banks (1) and Roisin Pickering (1).

The player of the match was keeper Sam Partington and umpires player of the match was Paula MacDonald.

Captain Pickering said: ” I was proud of the team today, great passion shown and work rate was relentless.”