Hockey: Brooklands Men's 5ths 4 - 2 Rochdale Men's 2nds

Date published: 08 April 2022

This Saturday (2 April) was the final game of a character forming season for Rochdale men’s second team. Barely managing to get eleven players it was always going to be a difficult match for the away team, but the lads dug in and were determined to their best.

The match started fairly evenly with both teams trying to gain the upper hand. Rochdale’s new tactic of hammering it through to high and wide forwards from 16 hit outs was working well, as even when the pass was not completed, the ball was not being lost in key areas and was leaving the Brooklands attack a little too much to do when they did make the interception.

Brooklands' attacks were starting to look slightly more effective as they began to open up small gaps in the defence to produce a few threatening shots and some dangerous looking crosses that almost came off. The closest of these found its way towards an attacker on the back post, who would have had a tap in had Adam Boodea on his first try out at right-back not got in front of his man and collected the ball, before driving out wide and finding a pass out, showing an understanding of the game well beyond his experience or years.

It was not long before Rochdale's defence was breached; the defence started to get pushed back towards the goal and were slow to react to the ball out from the baseline to the top of the D. With a breakdown in communication, the Brooklands forward was able to fire a hard low shot the crowd of bodies and into the backboard before the keeper could see it to react to it. A second goal would be added soon after a successful bit of dribbling opened a channel to the forward, who got a yard off his man and had a simple push finish into the Rochdale goal.

Rochdale didn’t put their heads down, the lads stuck at it and started to get Brooklands pushed back into their own half. They ended up paying the price for defending too deep themselves, as Kane Morgan working tirelessly on the left wing did what he does best. Making an overlap with the forward, he received the return pass near the top of the D. He threatened to carry the ball to the baseline for the cross, but it proved to be a feint as he spun out with the defender a yard the wrong side of him, as he used the space he had created to lash a fierce shot into the bottom corner to pull one back for the boys in orange before half time.

With the score at 2-1 Rochdale kept plugging away and kept Brooklands penned back in their own half for most of the remaining game. Rochdale came close to getting an equaliser, once with a good strike from a short corner from Graham Broadley that forced a diving stick save from the goalkeeper and once more from a strong strike from Captain Adam Massey that forced another fine save from the keeper.

It would be Brooklands who scored next however, as their counter attacks kept winning them penalty corners. All but one of around ten attacks were successfully defended by the make shift back four of Richard Saggerson, Broadley, Dean Close and Kane Morgan. Eventually however they found a gap with a top D strike that went right in the bottom corner to extend the lead.

It was by no means over yet though and the boys in orange kept attacking tirelessly. They were rewarded with another goal from Josh Robinson who made the most of Close’s cross that exposed the net. It still required a composed finish and even though he slipped near the top of the D, Josh produced a clever flick that left the defenders and goalkeeper no chance.

Time was running out to get an equaliser, but the boys in orange kept trying to find it. Unfortunately, they got caught by another counter attack. The forward received the ball in the middle of the D with his back to goal. He dragged it to one side and the defender moved too far over, allowing him to turn and push it into the bottom corner to seal a 4-2 win for Brooklands.

It was a good match and the team played well to allow a reasonable conclusion to a difficult season. There have been a lot of positives this season, as bad as it’s been. The core of the team has stuck at it despite having little to cheer about and it has been good to see how far our two juniors Adam and James have grown and developed in such a short space of time. It was difficult picking a man of the match everyone put everything into that last match, however it would be Adam Boodeea who got the vote, for putting in a solid performance on his first time at right-back.

Preparations for next season have already begun, with an action plan already drawn up and a meeting planned next month after some time off. If you have an interest in hockey, the club will be looking for fresh players for the next season which starts in September.

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