ASCT College 3-1 Rochdale Community Trust

On a breezy day at the Stanley Sports Hub, the young Reds weathered a storm and emerged victorious against Rochdale Community Trust after taking advantage of a second wind.

Starting faster than the gale force winds blowing through the ground, Stanley raced into an early lead as Ethan Gordon finished with aplomb at the back post, leaving the visitors’ defence in the cold.

Pressure was not lifted on Rochdale for a moment in the whole of the first period, with the Reds camped in the opposition half looking for a way through a dogged Dale defence, who were holding firm.

Corner after corner, chance after chance, but the ball would not break the way of the home side in the area when it mattered. Jager Heal eventually found some space in the penalty area but could not find the target, skewing an effort wide of the near post.

There would be time for one more chance before the interval as Matty Abraham took control of the ball just outside the 18-yard-area and struck a rasping effort on goal, only prevented by the fingertips of the Rochdale number one.

Coming back out for the second half with just the one goal advantage, Stanley pushed on looking to make their lead more secure. More chances came and went as the hosts failed to capitalise on numerous set pieces.

They would be left to rue their complacency as Rochdale dragged themselves back into the game.

Following a long pass forward from the visitors’ goalkeeper, the ball eventually dropped to the feet of the number 10 who showed nifty footwork to shift it onto his left side, striking across goal from 18 yards out and finding the bottom corner, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Just like seeing sunny skies over Accrington, this change in momentum was completely unpredictable. However, following the equaliser Rochdale were good value for their goal, constantly taking advantage of the weather as they deployed long balls over the top caught by the wind, which the Stanley centre backs found extremely difficult to deal with.

Stanley held out and soon the match opened up, with either team looking like they could score the next goal. As the match entered its final 15 minutes, it was the home side who made the move.

Finally, the Reds took advantage of a set piece. A great ball in from the right-hand side from Heal saw Ben Riley make a run to the front post, heading firmly into the net. Nerves calmed.

Seeing out the last 15 minutes with an impressive level of composure, Stanley found time to add another goal which put the result beyond doubt.

As the visitors committed more players forward, Stanley found themselves with space high up the pitch. Heal picked out Abraham with a smart ball across the box, with the latter heading into an empty net to wrap up the game.

There was little time for any more significant action as the match finished 3-1 to Stanley. A good reaction to overcome some hardship in the second half got the job done.