Rochdale faced off against bottom of the league Bolton, who had already been confirmed as being demoted, in the final weekend of the Hockey season.
Rochdale started off with good possession and were absolutely dominating play. The ball at times wasn’t even getting past the halfway line. They pressed hard and high and had committed lots of players forward. The tactic worked well as Rochdale bagged the first goal with a cheeky lobbed shot from a short corner from Imran Ansari and with Dean Close getting a slight deflection to take it above the keepers head and into the net.
With Rochdale clearly in the driving seat it took one lapse in concentration to allow Bolton through and with Brian Robinson out from his own area the ball was slipped between his legs and put Bolton back in the game.
However, Rochdale having majority of the possession and had control of the game, a quick little reverse drag from Graham Broadley put Rochdale back in the lead.
At half time Rochdale knew that this game was theirs for the taking and needed to push to ensure that they were in the running for taking 5th place or to keep their 6th place in the league.
With that Rochdale started the half well but started to lose control of the game and allowed attack after attack in. Rochdale managed to absorb alot of the pressure but eventually the inevitable happened and Bolton levelled it up.
The play started to return Rochdale’s way but the umpires wanted to have a word with the captains as they weren’t happy with the way that some of the players were contesting every decision. With this little break though it allowed Rochdale to regroup and double their efforts. This also came with 2 very quick goals, one from a short corner by Graham Broadley and the other by Bjorne Braun’s.
“The team knew what they had to do and delivered. At one point during the game the team got a little complacent and allowed the opposition to attack us but all the players showed resilience and turned it around”.
Man of the match Alex Paolozzi for cutting out most of the attacks and being an ever present force