Rochester United v Punjab United – Saturday 19th June 2021 – Rede Court Road

This was the last round of group games in the post lockdown tournament. The weather had flipped from being hot and sunny for my previous two games, to being cool and damp today.

Parking was free and a steward directed me into a space, as I finally located the ground at the top of Rede Court road, adjacent to the main road. The Rochester Sports Ground is on the Strood side of Rochester and consisted of a club house, toilets and refreshment stands, as well as a covered seating area and covered standing area. It cost £5 to enter and the programme which is well produced was £1.50, which also gave a free cup of tea, which was a welcome treat on a cold afternoon!

Seating at Rochester United FC.
This game wouldn’t allow either side to reach the final of the post-lockdown tournament, but gave them some pre-season much needed match practice. There was undoubtedly a level of club pride and local rivalry at stake.
Match teams, courtesy of the Rochester United FC, matchday programme.

The match kicked off, with a Rochester side playing in red shirts and white shorts and Punjab United playing in their away kit of blue shirts and shorts.

Rochester attack, early in the first half.

The game was closely fought with few chances, however, on 30 minutes, Rochester United scored the opening goal after a corner which their number 15, finished confidently, firing into the far corner of the goal.

Rochester United’s opening goal from a corner.
Neither side was shy in the tackle.

On 43 minutes the Rochester United number 10 finished well from the edge of the six yard box, to make it a deserved 2-0. Rochester United looked comfortably superior as the Punjab United player’s heads fell.

A hard fought game.

On the stroke of half time, Punjab United showed that there may well be some life left in the match, when they created their best chance. It came from a free kick and concluded with a well placed header which forced a good save from the Rochester keeper, ensuring that, at the break, the score remained 2-0.

Chipie, the charismatic Punjab United manager, looks for some inspiration.

The second half saw Punjab United push to get a foothold in a game which had slipped away from them in the first half. The second half was notable for some fine approach play, by Punjab United, but despite some fresh legs in the form of substitutes, they struggled to break down a really well organised Rochester defence.

Punjab fight back in the second half.
One of a number opportunities that Punjab United failed to convert in the second half.

When the final whistle blew, with the score still showing as 2-0 to Rochester United, it was hard to see how Punjab United had failed to score. Both sides shook hands at the end of the game and were able to reflect on an exciting tournament, where they had put the first steps together, to rebuild after the Covid lockdown.

Handshakes at the close of the game.

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