Unbeaten Rotherham given a tough game by improving Ben Rhydding
RHC V's Ben Rhydding
An unbeaten Rotherham lined up against Ben Rhydding, who were fresh off the back of a win against Leeds. Although Ben Rhydding were at the bottom of the league, this was not going to be an easy trip against a tough team with home advantage.
Ben Rhydding fielded a young, fit side and they started quickly. They had the better of the early exchanges and Rotherham were being moved around by the excellent movement of the opposition. However Rotherham were dangerous going forwarded and created a number of chances. Unfortunately the chances were missed, which was out of character for the team this season and left the players wondering if the breakthrough would come. A familiar figure Jack Hartley, then stepped up and scored the opener with an instinctive finish. That should have been the catalyst for an improving Rotherham performance, but unfortunately the team slipped back in to a similar pattern of play. Mistakes with the ball throughout the pitch allowed Ben Rhydding to have the ball, and defensive mistakes then gave a number of penalty corners. Excellent goalkeeping from Tony Cooper came to the rescue and kept the opposition out. The attacks kept being launched by Rotherham and eventually a second goal was scored by Ben Davis with a cool finish. A couple of rash challenges followed with Rotherham ending up down to 9 men at the end of the half. Rotherham made it to half time with a two goal lead.
The second half started with some better play but made difficult with two men being off the pitch for the first two minutes. When Rotherham were then restored to 11, the ball was moved around and more chances were created. However, clinical finishing was missing from the teams arsenal and a number of good chances were missed. Chances were again being created by Ben Rhydding, especially through penalty corners. It was getting tight until Hartley scored his second, giving Rotherham some breathing room. The number of penalty corners conceded by Rotherham then came back to haunt them, with Ben Rhydding finally converting. Rotherham then held out well in a scrappy last 10 minutes, with Hartley converting a penalty corner with the last action of the match. A 4-1 final score does not reflect the scrappy game and number of chances missed by both teams, but reflects the winning mentality and togetherness of the Rotherham team. The hat trick for Hartley now takes him to 37 for the season. It also leaves Rotherham at the top of the league with 36 points and with a South Yorkshire Derby next against Doncaster 3s.
Man of the match Andy Downs
Match report by Lee Kaighan