The final fixture before the winter break, saw Rochdale take on Prescot.
On paper this looked like an easy win, but Prescot proved to be a better side than thier league position suggested. However Rochdale would narrowly emerge 3-2 winners.
The game started fairly evenly, with both sides trying to get the first goal. After some promising play from Rochdale a well worked series of one twos down the right between Bjorn Brauns and George Rogers ended with a powerful finish from the former.
Keen not to concede quickly, the Rochdale defence held well and kept up the pressure on the Prescot back line with a disciplined press. Unfortunately Prescot managed to win a penalty corner jus before half time, which was powerfully struck into the bottom corner, making the score 1-1 at the break.
Cleverly playing to their fitness level throughout the second half, Prescot rarely pushed forward. Instead opting for a defensive half press. This allowed for numerous Rochdale attacks, often resulting in penalty corners. Most of these were close to being converted but Prescot were equal to them with some excellent goal line defending.
It looked like Rochdale we’re going to rue these missed chances as Prescot chose the moment for a counter and dispatched the resulting penalty corner to take a 2-1 lead, very much against the run of play.
Rochdale responded well and a great passing move and a strike from Brauns onto the post resulted in a well placed Michael Bohanna quickly converting with a quick handed reverse sweep. Rochdale pushed on for the winner, but Prescot deployed the dirty tactics of provoking key players to get them dismissed. Tempers flared twice with cards shown to players on both sides on both occasions.
Entering the closing stages of the game, it looked like Prescot had done enough to secure a point, but after some well chosen words on the pitch from Imran Ansari Rochdale got their heads back in the game and put some good moves together.
Ansari again on the ball caught Prescot’s defence napping and slipped a nice short ball short for the on form Brauns to clinically slot into the bottom corner for his second of the day to make it 3-2.
All was not over and thankfully the team listened to the voice of experience and played to keep the ball for the last five, to ensure a victory against a demoralised Prescot. It was a tough test for Rochdale in the end, but a win that shows how far this team has come in such a short time, having breathing room in 3rd place and only 3 points off top.
Captain Dean Close,”Its starting to show that teams are finding us difficult to beat with ability, but the number of cards is showing that discipline is becoming an area for improvement. I think today’s Flying Horse man of the match is Peter Ransome for just quietly putting in an excellent performance at inside forward on both offence and defence, without getting involved verbally or physically and just letting his brilliant young talent do the talking. Well played everybody, hopefully we all enjoy a well earned break and come back with renewed passion and vigour in the New year.”