Rochdale mens 2s knew the game was going to be tough facing an Urmston team currently sat just above them in third place in the league. Urmston are a very well organised and well drilled team but Rochdale had extra incentive to win with the draw from last week and also the return of striker Josh Robinson from becoming a father. His new born daughter, Grace was there along with girlfriend Maria to spur him on.
Rochdale started the game with just a bare 11, so knew that the game plan was play a game of possession and clever hockey, and for the most part they did. They were able to take hold of the game early on and showed their grit and determination playing as a strong unit, but that didn’t mean it was plain sailing.
After being pinned in their own half for a prolonged spell a fantastic long ball from their own 16 yard line from Imran Ansari was collected by Josh Robinson in the right hand corner of the Urmston half. The speed and accuracy of the pass had caught the whole Urmston team out and Robinson quickly fired past the only Urmston defender in the D, to find the on coming Bjorne Brauns, who slotted it past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Urmston again piled on the pressure and Rochdale looked to catch them again on th ecounter with a brilliant turn of pace from Peter Ransome down the right wing, the Rochdale strikers were again quickest to react and pressed into the Urmston D. This time it was Robinson who got the shot off only to be saved by the keeper but was cleaned up by Andy Meanock and put in the back of the net, 2-0 at half time.
Keen to get back in to the game Urmston pushed on early in the second half and were awarded a short corner. With a quick well drilled routine they struck the ball and it found it’s way into the back of the net, 2-1. As quickly as the first had gone in Rochdale found themselves being hard pressed into their own half and with a stunning running dribble from the half way line, Urmston unlocked the Rochdale defence and drove around the back which drew out Rochdale keeper, Brian Robinson from his line, and with a simple pass Urmston had scored their second goal with a tap in.
Rochdale however didn’t let their heads drop and knew that there were definitely still some goals available. Ansari was unlocking the Urmston midfield and defence at will, and when the ball was dribbled in to the corner and pushed in to the D finding Josh Robinson, despite being under pressure he managed to dink out to Dean Close who struck the ball first time from the penalty spot and fired it in to the back of the net to make it 3-2.
This seemed to spur Rochdale on and with another well played long ball and some great work by the two forwards Brauns managed to find himself on the score sheet again with a wonderful slap hit to place the ball inside of the post, for 4-2.
As the game went on, tiredness once again hit Rochdale and mistakes were starting to creep in. Urmston managed to win another short corner and with an almost carbon copy of their first they scored again to bring the score back to to within a single goal at 4-3. But this didn’t perturb Rochdale and with some wonderfully worked passes into the Urmston half the two forwards set to work again and managed to pull away again. This time in the form of a reverse stick goal from Robinson.
Urmston didn’t give up, and with another short corner but the same routine and the same out come once again got within a single goal of Rochdale. As the half drew tempers starting to flare and when an Urmston player tapped the ball away from Meanock and subsequently went off the side line, only to be called as an Urmston ball some of the frustrations boiled over and Meanock was yellow carded and had to sit out for 5 minutes leaving Rochdale with 10 men.
Rochdale sat back and had to soak up a lot of pressure and when a foul was committed just outside their D and the Urmston player, without stopping the ball drove straight in from 2 yards out, without allowing the ball to travel the required 5 yards before entering the D, he took a shot and scored. The entire Rochdale team protested to the umpires, who did confer and the goal was overturned. Just as the final whistle was about to go and Rochdale had won 5-4 in a very hard fought game.
Captain Karl Wynn “This was a really hard fought game against a strong side. The 3 points lift us up in the table and pushes us into a strong position. I want to thank all the lads today for each and every performance, but a particular mention must go to Peter Ransome and Sam Wilkinson, who have both stepped up from our under 15’s team this year and have played with great maturity and skill each and every time selected. Josh Robinson was also superb today and got himself onto the score sheet, something to tell Grace about in years to come. But the Atticus Trophies Man of the Match must go to Imran Ansari who gave another of his master classes.”