Rochdale ladies travelled to Urmston ladies on Sunday with hopes of getting another win behind them despite Gill Owen and Nikki Mongan unable to play, meaning Becky Knowles made her 2017/2018 season debut in defence. Sundays game also saw Jennie Ransome make her first debut for Rochdale Ladies, playing upfront alongside Katie Burrell.

As soon as the whistle blew Rochdale attacked the Urmston team with high intensity – something Rochdale have lacked in previous games, making it clear to Urmston they were going to have to fight to take the win, Rochdale weren’t going to make this easy!

In the first half Rochdale’s defence – made up of Kie Leech, Dionne Collinson, Becky Knowles and Becky Moon – worked tirelessly to move the ball up to Gemma Hodcroft and Paula Macdonald in the midfield. The new defensive line up showed true grit and determination as a unit despite its change in formation. Collinson and Knowles worked well together, communicating effectively to direct other members of the team. Urmston attacked relentlessly, and managed to break down the Rochdale back four slipping the ball around them and into the back of the goal.

Rochdale had a lot of opportunities to score, with Roisin Pickering pushing down the right wing and driving the ball across the D, but Rochdale fell short at the back post, which was repeatedly left unmanned and opportunities for the tap in went unpunished. Ransome and Burrell worked well together to try and even the score, but it just wasn’t to be, and the first half saw no goals for Rochdale.

Rochdale didn’t lose spirit, and in the second half they continued to press the Urmston players and turning over possession. But it was Urmston who scored a second, their upfront player broke from the 25 line, took the ball around defence and slotted it into the left hand corner of the goal. This was hard to stomach for Rochdale but again they dusted themselves off and cracked on.

With the score line at 2-0 Rochdale were determined to score. Collinson took a quick free hit to Macdonald who passed into a space for Ransome to meet. With Pickering making her way to top D, Ransome passed square, Pickering connected with the ball and sent it flying into the back of the net – before the keeper could react and Rochdale were on the score sheet.

Urmston were quick to respond to Rochdale’s goal and pushed heavily down the pitch. With three consecutive short corners awarded to them Sam Partington, in the Rochdale goal, stepped up and saved the ball on the line twice.

However it wasn’t enough, and Ursmton took another opportunity to attack the D and put a third goal on the score sheet. With time running out and Rochdale needing t score, Macdonald and Hodcroft continued to work from one D to the other, with full back Leech and Moon, pushing further up the field.

Rochdale did not convert anymore opportunities and the game ended 3-1. Once again the spirit that was shown was more than they could have hoped for and if the level of intensity is maintained through the rest of the season, they will score more goals and remain in the division.

Captain Kie: “Despite having to make up the teams numbers and some team members playing out of position, we worked brilliant and tirelessly from start to finish. Great game, well done ladies!”

The player of the match was awarded to Sam Partington.