Rochdale News | Sports News | Hockey: Rochdale 2nd Men’s 5 – 0 Bolton 2nd Men’s

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Date published: November 11, 2022


On Saturday November 5, Rochdale returned at home against Bolton. When these two teams met last season, they both won their respective first legs. Rochdale has worked hard since then and after heavy criticism from his manager last week he was looking to put in a strong team performance today.

Bolton started brilliantly in the opening minutes of the first half, quickly returning possession after Rochdale’s pushback and began trying to force their way through Rochdale’s half-court press. It wasn’t easy as the guys in orange kept strong discipline with their form and frustrated Bolton early on as there was no obvious path. This led to them making a few changes just before the halfway line, but delivering panicked forced shots that were easily picked up early on.

Eventually they found a way through on Rochdale’s right but it only worked against them as man of the match James Trainor pounced on a weak pass and crossed the counter. A quick two with Stuart Dearden on the halfway line saw James drive behind Bolton’s defensive line towards the baseline. Finding time to set up, he hit a cross (which was accidentally raised around knee height) which found its way to the back post for Bjorn Braun to volley home and give a fast forward to the home team. There was some controversy with the ball raised, but neither Bolton defender needed to take evasive action, so it was deemed not dangerous and the goal stood.

Bolton came on strong looking for an equaliser, but had to use discipline to try and find a way through the half-court press. They started to manage to pass, but they were always mobbed and isolated on the sidelines when they did, allowing the home forwards and midfielders to give up the ball. The next goal came from that as captain Adam Massey put possession back down the halfway line and drove to Bolton’s exposed, high back line. A quick, flowing attack directly on the training ground allowed him to engage the last defender before slipping it to Bjorn, who rounded the keeper and headed home to double Rochdale’s lead.

Trying to find a better path, Bolton began to overload the wing they were attacking to force Rochdale full-backs to tag two players. Thanks to the inspired leadership of Dave Jackson, this problem was resolved on the day and Bolton was content to run down the wing as best he could and was unable to penetrate the Rochdale circle. When Rochdale had to take a 16, the away team tried to do a high press, but a well-executed aerial passed directly overhead to Dearden, who led a quick counter that surprised Bolton . An excellent play between the front line cleared the last defender, allowing Massey to engage the keeper before passing to Dearden to score his first and Rochdale’s third.

It was a strong first half performance overall, but a few areas were identified for improvement. Namely transferring the ball faster and sticking to the task. Especially if it was just well done and more of the same please.

The second half would be tougher though, as the home team were starting to tire a bit, but that was largely the same. Bolton managed to get more penetration from Rochdale’s back line in the second half but were still limited to a few half chances. Their best effort came towards the end from a penalty corner, as one of their rising stars snuck a good net towards goal. Luckily for Rochdale, it was straight down the middle and well saved by Dean Colusardo in the Rochdale goal.

Massey added another goal to calm the nerves in the second half, thanks to a quick counter and an assist from Stuart. He also scored another, after a superb cross from James after carrying the ball past a few defenders before crossing from the right. It was, however, denied due to a construction infraction. A final goal was added by Dearden to seal the game at 5-0 with Massey completing his hat trick of assists.

It was Rochdale’s best performance so far this season, although Bolton weren’t as bad as the scoreline would suggest. They played good things in some games and have a lot of promising young players. It was a day for the home sides, with a strong performance showing how much they have improved from last season, turning a one-goal loss into a five-goal win.

The man of the match was James Trainor for a strong all-round performance in defense and attack.

The team’s next opponents are Timperley, which is always a tough game.

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