Keswick lined up against a Rochdale team, yet to lose a game in the league and sitting at the summit of the table. Keswick fielded the strongest side possible and were keen to kick start their season after some disappointing results so far.
Keswick started slowly and only due to some last ditch defending did they manage to keep the game at 0-0. Keswick didn’t learn from the early warning signs and a straight ball from defence split the Keswick midfield and along with some brilliant centre forward play Rochdale made it 0-1.
Keswick dug deep after going a goal down and began to grow in confidence. Shaw was able to get in to the game providing some quality balls from the back, which relieved some pressure off the Keswick defence.
The midfield was now bossing the game with Wilson and Sloan breaking down the Rochdale attacks and creating Keswick chances. There was a glorious chance to make the tie level when Barnes held off some niggling challenges and was able to play in Proctor who had made a burst in behind Rochdale defence and should really have made it 1-1.
Over the next 20 minutes Keswick showed the spirit of previous seasons - a goal down yet Keswick picked them self-up and turned the tables on a strong Rochdale side. The game changed when some brilliant play down the right hand side gave Wilson the opportunity to play a wicked ball into the D, to which Barnes was able to apply a clinical deft touch making it 1-1.
Keswick put themselves ahead just before the break with a repeat of some great play between Barnes and Proctor; Barnes collected the ball on the halfway line and was able to send the ball in behind for Proctor to collect and round the onrushing Rochdale keeper and make it 2-1.
The second half was scrappy but ultimately Keswick won the battle with help from some robust Sloan and Wilson challenges to keep the Rochdale attacks at bay. McCully, Jackson and Swanston were able to keep the Rochdale defence busy with some smart play down the wings.
Keswick utilised there substitutes well and with changes were able to keep Rochdale guessing. A superb - first time in 30 years - aerial ball on the run from Bowen was able to play in Barnes but the Rochdale defence did well to smother out the attack.
Keswick were able to finish off Rochdale in the last 10 minutes when a series of passes between McCully and Man of the Match Barnes helped Barnes to find his way into the opposition D and pulled out a top bag finish that matched the quality of the build-up play.
After going 1-0 down to a strong Rochdale side Keswick managed to put in a performance that will hopefully jump start a so far jittery opening to the new season.