Rochdale Men’s 2nd travelled to 2nd place St Helens in a much anticipated match. However going into the match the 1st team and the 2nd team were having to mix and match players due to an injury crisis.
Within the first few minutes Rochdale were showing why they were currently sitting at the top of the table with some excellent forays into the opposition half and working it well into the oppositions D creating a couple of chances but it was the beautiful link up play between Aaron Hunter, Dean Close and Graham Broadley who with successive one touch hockey played it clean around the St Helens defence to give them the lead. However, St Helens were not going to be unsettled by this, especially with being a top team within the division and managed to respond in turn not long after to make it 1 – 1.
If Rochdale had learnt anything this season it was that there were going to be more goals coming their way and there was with Broadley scoring one, his first of the campaign after being the highest goal scorer last year, and a second for Hunter after brother, Kieran, had taken a shot and he took the rebound to score.
Rochdale had to endure a lot in the way of pressure in the first half after giving themselves such a healthy lead with the St Helens team managing to hit the post several times and a brilliant stick save from goal keeper Brian Robinson, who had already made some truly remarkable saves.
However, half time would be the undoing of the Rochdale team with them conceding some early penalty corners and the shape not being there they allowed St Helens into the game in the second half, and they didn’t need inviting twice and before Rochdale were aware of what happened it was all level.
The next 10 minutes would be tough for Rochdale who were now looking to hold them to a draw, as all hope of scoring a goal was starting to fade quickly. Sensing this, St Helens quickly and efficiently killed off the game scoring 3 more times to hand Rochdale their first and only defeat to date, something that was a bitter pill for them to swallow.
Captain Dean Close “Today was always going to be a tough game with both teams looking to be on form and at the top of the table. Hockey is a game of two halves and Rochdale won the first half while St Helens won the second half. They played well and the game was hard fought and was deserving of a top of the league fight.
The Flying Horse Man of the Match, Aaron Hunter.