Rochdale mens 2s hosted Horwich 1s who are currently top of the league and are enjoying an undefeated season, at Oulder Hill on Saturday. This was going to be a difficult game and Rochdale were fully aware that the first 15 minutes could be key to the outcome.
But, from the off, Rochdale struggled to get into the game and it seemed to be the same old issue, of being slow off the mark. This is when Horwich made their impact known and their intent was clear, and within minutes Horwich showed Rochdale exactly why they are top of the league and took a 3 goal lead. This totally took the wind out of the Rochdale sails and a difficult game now looked impossible.
Then Rochdale seemed to click and they started to look better. They started moving the ball quicker and were piercing through the Horwich midfield and beginning to attack the goal.
This started to lead to opportunities and with the first real break from defending hard, a well timed Dean Close pass from halfway line went through a Horwich midfielders legs to Luke Rosebury, who drove towards the D, passed quickly to Andy Meanock who drove to the by-line and squared the ball behind the keeper for Graham Broadley to calmly slot the ball in the back of the net. This gave Rochdale the incentive they needed just before half time.
Going into the second half Rochdale knew the Horwich had controlled the first half, but the momentum had been slowly turning and Rochdale knew they had a chance to control the second half. As soon as the whistle was blown Rochdale pressed the Horwich midfield hard and took the game by the scruff of the neck. This determination started to prove fruitful and earned them their first short corner. With a well drilled routine Rochdale got a shot off but was saved by the keeper.
This attack was to be the start of a very dominant half for Rochdale, who came close to scoring many times. Rochdales movement and passing created some fantastic hockey, and they were was again unlucky when a Meanock shot took a deflection which lobbed the keeper but narrowly missed the goal and rolled just over the crossbar onto the roof of the net.
However, it was to be Broadley who would score Rochdales second goal of the game. The whole move again started at the halfway line with Rosebury sending a well weighted ball to Meanock who ran straight at the heart of the Horwich defence, as he approached the top of the D, he slipped the ball wide of the keeper to Broadley. The pass looked too heavy, but Broadley showed his usual determination, sliding in on his knees with a one handed, reverse stick shot just before the ball went out of play. Braodley put enough spin on the ball, and the whole crowd watched in what felt like slow motion, the ball spin into the back of the net to the delight and amazement of the Rochdale players.
Horwich were not down and out though, and if it were not for a quite brilliant save from Rochdale keeper Brian Robinson, down low to his right, he slapped the ball away with his stick, Horwich could have scored a fourth and the game would have been over.
This was definitely a game of two halves with Horwich claiming the first half but Rochdale deservingly taking the second half and were very unfortunate not to draw or even take the win.
Captain Karl Wynn “Today we played and competed with the top of the league who have yet to be beaten. We gave them a real scare and came close to taking points of them. Although we didn’t win, on the back of this display, we should not fear any team in this league. The Atticus Promotions man of the match goes to Dave Marlow who marshalled our defence all day and settled them down after the early poor start”.