12 goal game and 3 points sees Rotherham take a strong league position with 4 games to go
RHC V's City of York
Rotherham looked to continue on from last weeks win as they travelled to face City of York with a strong side. With the low temperatures and rain not stopping Rotherham travelling thankfully the pitch inspection allowed the game to go ahead.
The game started quickly with the away side striking first. Some good forward play from Jack Hartley and Dan Needham lead to a goal scoring opportunity that was calmly slotted away by Ben Davis. This quick start from the away side was mirrored by the home team who found themselves with a chance to equalise minutes later. Their high pressure press capitalising on a loose pass by a Rotherham defender, gaining possession of the ball in the D and slotting the ball into the corner of the goal. Soon after York then took the lead, a good passing spell ended with them finding a forward in 2 yards of space in an otherwise crowded D, who buried the ball into the goal.
Unfazed by going behind, Rotherham raised their game and immediately hit back at the home side. A quick counter attack lead to a long corner, slipped across to Graham Ibbotson in space who fired the ball into the D to forward josh towers, who's strong deflection on the ball left the York goalkeeper no time to react and the ball had hit the backboard before he even had time to move. Rotherham continued to pile on the pressure and shortly after took the lead in the game, Fraser Andrews driving into the D winning a penalty corner that Dan Needham converted, slotting the ball into the bottom corner past the diving goalkeeper. York continued to press Rotherham but strong defensive play from Steve Siddle, Andy Downs and Luke Bridger, and a string of several saves from goalkeeper Tony Cooper kept Rotherham's lead intact.
After more back and forth play, Rotherham ended the half securing a 2 goal lead going into the break, Downs launching the ball down the field to Hartley who drove along the back line drawing defenders towards him before slipping the ball through a tight gap to Towers who calmly turned and fired a reverse stick shot into the near post completely wrong footing the goalkeeper.
Rotherham continued the goal scoring shortly after the break, with Ricky Benton's skill pulling defenders out of position and his pass then finding Needham, who took the ball away from the York defender with his first touch, then flicked the ball passed the goalkeeper with his second. Rotherham added to their tally when a long ball out from the Rotherham defence was left to go off the back line by the York goalkeeper only for it to hit the post and stay in play, this ball was pounced on by Hartley who had gambled on the long ball and was able to react quickly and tap the ball into the empty net.
Wanting to keep themselves in the game York began to press harder on Rotherham players on the ball, and with an unexpected advantage catching Rotherham out of position York were able to mount a counter attack. The attack down the left side ending with a 1 on 1 between the York forward and goal keeper Cooper. The forward was unable to get a full connection on the ball but was able to steer it goal wards, as both players attempted to secure it they collided. Stunned and with his helmet knocked off Cooper was unable to stop the ball as it continued into the bottom corner.
Rotherham pushed on keen to seal the result, strong attacking play from James Thomas lead to a chance for Matt Webb who slotted the ball into the goal giving Rotherham a 3 goal lead once again. Rotherham's continued pressure lead to a number of penalty corners. Dan Needham stepped up to the top of the D and fired the ball into the netting again to complete his hat-trick off one corner. At the other end of the pitch though Rotherham got caught out after committing too many players forward. A York player took an early reverse stick shot which Rotherham's keeper was unable to get a strong enough connection onto to steer the ball away from goal. Undeterred Rotherham continued to push for additional goals right up to the final whistle. In the closing seconds they were awarded a penalty corner, Needham once again taking on the shot from top D, launching a drag flick just wide of the right hand post.
The game ended with Rotherham taking 3 points home with them with an 8-4 win ensuring they keep their position at the top of Yorkshire Division 1 going into the slip weekend, before they meet Thirsk & Molton on the 24th.
Ricky Benton was given man of the match for his superb attacking support and play coming from midfield.
Match report by Fraser Andrews.