Saturday saw Rochdale Ladies take on Salford University with hopes of bringing home the win. With keeper Sam Partington, centre midfield Paula MacDonald and centre defender Nicky Mongan away enjoying half term, Rochdale welcomed back Jennie Ransome and junior Sarah Ransome on to the pitch.
The game started quickly with Salford pressing high up the pitch however; this didn’t deter Rochdale – who once again – came out fighting. With Salford often intercepting the long passes Rochdale were making, they soon adapted their play. Rochdale made short, sharp passes up the pitch often making it in the D. Nevertheless; again, it was difficult for Rochdale to get the ball into the back of the net – which has been the case for most of the season despite working hard in training to improve on this.
The first goal for Salford came in the middle of the first half, despite Kie Leech relentlessly tracking the ball and a valiant effort from Knowles and Hodcroft in the middle, the Salford forward passed it through the D where it was met by a Salford stick. Shortly after, Salford’s second goal followed, a short corner was given away after a ball played into Rochdale’s D hit a planted foot. Salford executed the corner well and despite the efforts of Owen, Collinson, Leech and Moon, the ball slipped through into the right-hand corner – meaning Rochdale were now 2-0 down. Both goals coming from the upfront player, so Rochdale knew they had to mark this player closely as her individual skill level was causing them problems.
Both teams were creating more chances, however Rochdale’s breakthrough came from a misplaced pass coming out of Salford’s defence. Roisin Pickering picked up the ball and was then afforded the time and space to pass into the D, Katie Burrell tapped it to Ransome who was waiting on the back post. Ransome swept the ball into right hand corner of the net, having avoided several lacklustre efforts made by Salford’s defence.
The intensity in the second half remained high, with both teams perhaps sensing that a slight increase in performance could yield a positive result in their game. However; it was Salford who made the first attack, making it 3-1 early on. Rochdale’s second goal came after they were awarded a short corner, Knowles injected the ball into top D to Pickering who past to the left. Hodcroft connected with the ball and slotted it home. A great display of team work and well thought out play which was aesthetically pleasing for the Rochdale fans. Salfords forth and final goal of the game came within the last ten minutes of the final whistle.
With a couple of minutes left to try and salvage the game Rochdale became a little frantic and despite securing a couple of short corners they were unable to make them count. A tense game which finished at 4-2 to Salford, despite a slightly depleted squad an all round good performance from all of the ladies.
Captain Kie: “It was a great, well battled game again today. The team worked really hard together right till the end despite a player shortage. A big thank you to Sue, junior Sarah and Jennie for stepping up when needed. Sue playing in goal, Jennie for scoring her first Rochdale goal and Sarah getting MoM! Well played ladies.”