After last week’s dominant performance Kendal were in high spirits as they travelled to face a Rochdale team who had taken all 6 points from them and finished 2nd in the league last season.
From the start Kendal played the better hockey and pushed the home side back as they attempted to find the opening goal. The visitors probed for any weaknesses with Liam Derome and John Stanworth strong on their wings as they attempted to latch onto one of Chris Woodman’s gently stung crosses. However, it was the home side that struck first. Rochdale soaked up the pressure and launched a quick counter. With one pass the home side were in on goal and the striker converted well. Things got worse for Kendal as twice more they fell for the same tactic. Suddenly, a discombobulated Kendal found themselves 3-0 down even though they had had the lion’s share of possession. Captain Nick Davis saw the issue and called for a change of formation. By pulling an extra man back into defence Davis had negated the Rochdale long ball. The Greens were forced to start from scratch and began to build from the back. Just before the half time whistle Liam Platt earned Kendal the break through they had been looking for. Platt muscled his way into the D, made a fifty-fifty challenge look anything but and then calmly rounded the sprawling keeper to give his side a lifeline.
Halftime: Rochdale 3 – 1 Kendal.
The restart saw an efficient, resolute Kendal take to the field. Mindful of the ever present Rochdale threat, The Greens simply refused to give up the ball. Aaron Screen, Andy Melville and man of the match Phil Conlin worked tirelessly in midfield making sure there was always a passing option, no matter where the ball was on the pitch. Jack Kerr put Kendal within touching distance when he was first to react to a loose ball in the D and slipped it into the corner of the home side’s goal. Aaron Screen made easy work of a one on one with the Rochdale keeper to make it 3 all. Screen finished with quality after he was given half the pitch to himself following Ewan Galloway’s classy pass. Captain Davis then took responsibility and stepped forth to give Kendal the lead for the first time in the match. It was a just reward for the Kendal skipper, who had not only played well, but had also had the awareness to give the away side tactical fluidity. Finally, Galloway slotted the ball home after another slick team passing move to make it 5 unanswered goals for Kendal in a period of total hockey. The away team then kept it at the back. Simon Millington and Charlie Long repeatedly drew in the increasingly frustrated opposition before shipping the ball on at the last minute. The Rochdale striker showed his quality one more time and took his only chance of the half well to make it a nervous last two minutes for Kendal. However, after such a strong display from the away team, the match only had one winner. The final whistle blew to rapturous cheers from the men in green who had thoroughly earned their three points after such an epic come back and excellent team performance.
Kendal have a crucial match next weekend when they face local rivals South Lakes Men’s 1s at home. South Lakes are 2nd in the league with Kendal 4th, just 2 points behind.