Rochdale Ladies took a break from the league on Saturday and travelled to Salford University 1s in the Division 2 Cup with a strong team line up as Roisin Pickering, Becky Knowles and Dionne Collinson all returned to the squad. 

The game started quickly with Salford Uni scoring minutes from the first push back, as they weaved in and out of the Rochdale defence before taking a shot and scoring. If they didn’t already know, Rochdale knew now that they needed to step up their game as this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Knowles made numerous runs taking the ball down the pitch, creating many opportunities to score however, with no one manning the back post it became apparent this may be an tough task. 

Salford kept a high tempo, keeping the ball moving at all times and making it difficult to defend for Rochdale. This young team, who were very skilful, kept Rochdale on the back foot and a second goal came from a very quick counter after a Rochdale attack. At 2-0 down, Rochdale began to push forward looking for a goal before half time, but it was Salford who once again, caught Rochdale on the counter and by halftime Salford had a 3-0 lead.

Early on in the second half Becky Moon, playing in midfield, made a successful tackle gaining possession. The ball was quickly moved out wide to Collinson, who sent it up the wing to Pickering. Driving the ball straight in to the D, Pickering found Knowles, who turned and had a shot on goal. Saved by the keeper, the ball fell to the floor and before Katie Burrell could strike, the Salford keeper fell on the ball. Unlucky not to get a short corner awarded, Rochdale felt hard done by and this wasn’t an isolated event, Rochdale were on the receiving end of some questionable decisions made by the umpire. 

Rochdale continued to push on, tracking the Salford players rather than going in for the tackle, as they were very quick to take the ball around Rochdale if the tackle was unsuccessful. Adopting the tracking tactic meant it frustrated Salford, and they only managed to score one more goal in the second half. The game finished 4-0 to Salford and Rochdale’s cup dreams were put on hold for another season.

Captain Kie Leech “Gill ‘The Machine’ Knowles was very strong in defence even after getting hit with the ball early on in the game she took it in her stride. Gemma Hodcroft battling hard in the middle using her stamina to tire the Salford players, but Roisin Pickering was outstanding today and fully deserved the Player of the Match”.