Coming into this game against a winless Rochdalians side, nothing less than 3 points would suffice for Stretford Paddock as they looked to continue their title charge. It turned out to be a very one sided display where Rochdalians AFC were thoroughly outclassed, one of the more commanding performances from Paddock this season. Sentiments echoed by the manager Stephen Howson who described the performance as, “Dominant” and “Superlative”.
Paddock were out of the traps fast as Tom Jones broke away down the right hand side, sliding the ball across to Kieron Molloy who netted his 6th goal of the season as the goals continue to flow for Molloy. The undoubted star of the show on the day however was Mike Burke who was outstanding on the day and a constant threat throughout the game, he’s been in good form lately but hit a whole new level on the weekend – as in the first half, he cut in from the right side and curled in a wonderful effort on his weaker left foot leaving the keeper with no chance. He was relentless down the right side all game, rightly finishing the match with a goal and an assist in the game to show for it. Following on, in the dying embers of the game Josh Smith was alert as ever almost finding the net himself but was unlucky to not do so as he has his eyes set on becoming all-time Paddock goal scorer, a title currently held by former Paddock midfielder Jay Phillips. He was extremely unlucky as he nicked the ball passed the keeper, just to see it ricochet back off the defender, back into the keeper and then into the net – a goal which will unfortunately go down as an own goal as his wait continues to match and beat the record currently held by former midfielder Jay Phillips. A feat I won’t bet against him surpassing with the form he’s in, whilst only being two goals away with much of the season still remaining.
Swindell also managed to grab his first goal for the club with a sublime volleyed finish after a searching cross from Mike Burke who was sensational on the day, very deserving of his Man Of The Match honours.
Stephen Howson was rather underwhelmed with the victory, being the perfectionist he is, voicing his expectations coming into the game of extending goal difference as he anticipates it could be a deciding factor come the end of the season; and although a 4 goal victory isn’t too shabby by any means, he believed their was plenty opportunity for even more. He will be looking for his side to not take their foot off the gas, take each game as they come and continue the momentum going into next week.