Rochdale, keen on carrying the momentum from their double header last weekend which saw them draw one game and win the other, faced a tough South Manchester side on Saturday.
The game started in the way that has plagued Rochdale’s season so far with the first 10 minutes proving to be very problematic resulting in them going 2 nil down. The quick goals certainly ignited the fire in Rochdale, who not only managed to find their way back into the game but started to get a stranglehold on it.
With Rochdale pressing the South Manchester players the midfield, an early lob from within his own half, saw Imran Ansari find with pin point accuracy Graham Broadley in the far corner. The South Manchester defence was stretched and a well weighted ball across the front of goal from Broadley, just out of the reach of the keeper, fell at the feet of Bjorne Brauns at the back post for a routine tap in to bring Rochdale back into the game.
This was definitely the incentive Rochdale needed and spurred them back into the game. The last 20 minutes of the first half saw Rochdale dominate and put South Manchester under tremendous pressure. But just before half time South Manchester were awarded a penalty flick. The umpire wasn’t allowing the protests from the Rochdale players and let the flick stand. The South Manchester player dutifully scored to make it 4-1 at half time.
Despite the goal at the stroke of half time, Rochdale were not perturbed and wanted to get back out there and show why they were not going to go down without a fight. As the Rochdale attacks came thick and fast South Manchester began to panic and resorted to some dangerous defending fouling Broadley and giving away a short corner. Rochdale piled on the pressure and Andy Meanock forced home the ball to bring another goal back.
However, the momentum was slightly taken away when Rochdale keeper Brian Robinson had to be substituted due to injury and Karl Wynn stepped up to take his place. South Manchester did try to initially take advantage of the situation getting off a couple of shots before Rochdale started a full counter. Peter Ransome took the ball and drove hard towards the South Manchester D and with a well hit cross with plenty of speed it went into the D and Brauns was their, again, to get a cheeky deflection using the speed of the ball to put the game at 4-3.
Rochdale would take the game to South Manchester for the remainder of the time and played predominantly in their half, however that elusive final goal to make it 4-4 was sadly missing and the game ended in defeat for Rochdale.
“Even though the score line at half time did not reflect the game, the team spirit of all the men was there for everyone to see. This was especially evident in making a situation where Rochdale could easily have let the game get away from them but everyone pulled together to ensure that the game was tightly contested. I couldn’t be any happier with how everyone reacted”
Man of the match goes to Bjorne Brauns who helped transform the game and was a presence all over the pitch.