Rochdale Ladies 17 – 0 Manchester University Ladies Fourths

After Manchester University thirds midweek defeat, Rochdale Ladies had been given a title lifeline and they took it with aplomb in a last game of the season winner takes all scenario.

Rochdale were pitched against Manchester University Fourths team who were not going to do them any favours. A large crowd had gathered at the Oulder Hill Leisure Complex to witness what was going to be an historic day.

Rochdale nerves settled quickly and that allowed them to play their natural game.

Within minutes they had taken the lead with an expert run by Roisin Pickering who picked out Jenny Banks in the D and she calmly slotted the ball home.

Another well worked move saw Becky Knowles find Paula McDonald who smashed her shot into the net, 2-0 to Rochdale with barely five minutes on the clock.

Manchester University didn’t give up but every attack they tried fell short as soon as it came up against Rochdale’s defence line, who stood strong and were aiming to keep yet another clean sheet to add to their record of not conceding a single goal at home all season.

Two more goals from Pickering, one each for Ashleigh Hoyle and Knowles and four more for Banks gave Rochdale an unassailable 10-0 lead at half time.

The second half started with more of the same and within minutes Banks was on the scoresheet again.

Manchester University were tiring and Rochdale took advantage.

Several short corners were awarded to Rochdale but Manchester’s stand in keeper was showing her skills and doing her best to keep the score down.

Pickering finally got her hat-trick after a pass from Dionne Collinson set her free into the D where she tucked the ball under the keeper.

Banks scored another five goals to add to her tally for the day.

Manchester University must be applauded for fighting right until the end but for them the final whistle could not come soon enough, and when it did, the title was Rochdale’s.

Player-of-the-match was awarded to Jenny Banks for her 11 goals on the day.

Captain Kie Leech: ”It has been an absolute privilege to captain these ladies this year, they have battled hard all season and after last week’s defeat, we were not going to let it slip today.

“This title was not won just today, it has been a season long campaign. The whole team deserves credit for this championship.

“Our defence has not let a single goal in at home all year, our midfield have worked tirelessly in every game and our strikers have performed week in week out.

“All the hard work each and every player as put in, on and off the pitch has brought this victory and Im incredible proud of them all.”