DEFENSIVE errors cost Rocester in Wednesday night’s crunch relegation battle against Continental Star
In a hard-fought and sometimes ill-tempered contest, the Romans handed their opponents two of their three goals, and with them all three crucial points.
Rocester made the early running and took a 30th minute lead when Richard Froggatt’s long free kick was flicked on by Liam Shaw to Dan Brown, who netted with a perfect first-time lob over home keeper Jordan Ellis from 25 yards.
It was a goal Rocester deserved and they had the home side on the ropes until an uncharacteristic mistake from centre back Dan Wain eight minutes later let in Rikardo Reid to level things up.
Reid seized upon Wain’s soft back-header and easily slotted the ball past Froggatt.
Rocester started the second period well and Brown conjured up a chance when he held off his marker as he broke into the area, but he took the ball too wide past Ellis
And when he pulled it back across the area Brent Upton could not get his shot away.
With Rocester looking to play on the break Continental upped the tempo and seized the initiative.
Reid almost put them in front when he burst into the area and drilled a low angled shot past Froggatt, which Tom Brown somehow stopped from crossing the line before scrambling the ball away.
Another chance came Rocester’s way just after the hour when Tom Brown’s free kick was headed into Liam Shaw’s path, but the striker could only send the ball over the bar as he arrived at the far post with a cushioned volley.
Barely a minute later the ball was in the net at the other end, and it was the tricky Reid who found space to fire a shot past Froggatt from the edge of the box.
Star’s lead lasted just four minutes as Rocester responded perfectly to draw level.
Dan Brown once again provided an excellent finish, curling a shot inside the far post after he collected Aaron Dillon’s long ball down the left channel.
With both teams searching for a vital winner it was Star who got lucky four minutes from time when Tom Brown’s lunging tackle on Aaron Garvey had referee Brad Tudgay pointing to the spot. Reid stepped up to complete his hat-trick in emphatic style.
As nerves and tempers began to fray Romans boss Dave Shaw was ordered from the dug-out after speaking out of turn to the assistant referee.
Then as Rocester pushed for a late equaliser an unseemly melee involving almost every player on the pitch deep inside the home penalty area could easily have escalated out of hand. Referee Tudgay consulted with his assistants before cautioning Liam Shaw and Star captain Liam Morrall, both probably fortunate not to see red.
The Romans have 11 games remaining and face a nerve-jangling battle with five other teams to avoid the bottom three places.
Scorers: Star – Reid 38, 64, 87(pen). Romans – D Brown 30, 68.
Romans: Froggatt; T.Brown; Dillon; Whalley; Allen; Wain; Barlow; Upton (Jones 68); L.Shaw; D.Brown; Rutland-Jones. Subs not used: McDonald.
Referee: Mr. B. Tudgay (Oldbury).