ROCESTER’S future in the Midland Alliance hangs by a thread after they were beaten 2-0 at high-flying Quorn on Saturday, leaving the Romans four points from safety with just three games to play.
Without the services of five key players, their hopes of picking up something from the trip into Leicestershire were severely dented before a ball was even kicked.
Although their re-shuffled pack battled gamely and remained in contention until Quorn netted their second goal in the closing moments, Rocester rarely looked capable of breaching the home defence.
Possibly their best chance fell to Liam Shaw inside the opening 10 minutes when he worked hard to win the ball as the home defence tried to pass their way out.
Unfortunately for Shaw he did not quite have the pace to break cleanly away and his eventual shot was blocked as the two defenders covered.
Quorn had already seen two early attempts from Dominic Brennan drift harmlessly wide, and straight after Shaw’s effort they went much closer to opening the scoring when Karl Whymark’s mazy run cutting inside from the left flank ended with a powerful rising drive that only just cleared the bar.
Liam Read and then Lewis Dodd fired efforts narrowly off target as Quorn’s early momentum kept Rocester on the back foot, but the Romans settled into their more defensive shape that manager Dave Shaw asked of his players, and began to look much more comfortable.
Despite the hosts enjoying the greater share of possession, they were now looking much less of a threat, but just as the Romans looked set to go in level at the break they were undone by a Dominic Brennan solo effort.
Picking up the ball on Quorn’s left flank, Brennan moved infield and ghosted past two defenders into the area before squeezing a low shot inside the near post.
It was more of the same as Quorn began the second half on the front foot with the Romans getting players behind the ball, and their pressure looked to have paid off in the 54th minute when Lewis Dodd earned a penalty when he was clipped by Carl Allen just inside the area.
Brennan’s spot-kick, however, was well-saved by Richard Froggatt, who guessed correctly and held the ball at full stretch at the foot of his post.
As in the first half, Rocester grew more into the game the longer it went on, and in the final quarter when they had to push players forward they started to ask a few questions of the home defence.
Quorn’s Jordan Wakeling somehow avoided even a yellow card for a dangerous lunging tackle on George Barlow, who had to leave the field minutes later nursing a sore ankle sustained in the challenge.
Aaron Dillon’s corner was met by Paul Whalley’s downward header but it was straight at goalkeeper Laurie Pearson, and then Dillon was stopped in his tracks by a very dubious offside flag as he looked to break clear after Whalley’s headed flick-on.
Rocester’s last throw of the dice saw a free kick delivered into the area to Simeon Lawrence, who held the ball up superbly before miscuing his shot on the turn, frustratingly just ahead of Tom Ellerton, who had a clear sight of goal.
With players caught upfield, Rocester were finally killed off in stoppage time when Whymark’s shot across goal was unluckily deflected into his own net by Eli Jones.
Rocester’s fate is likely to be determined next weekend when they really need two wins to give themselves a chance of getting out of the bottom three.
GOALS: Brennan 38, Jones og 90 (Quorn).
QUORN: Pearson, Kerr, Young, Wakeling, Sibson (Cooper 74), Attwood, Whymark, Henton, Read (Turner 90), Brennan, Dodd (Prenderville 76). Subs not used: none.
ROMANS: Froggatt, Upton, Dillon, Whalley, Allen, Wain, Jones, Barlow (Johnson 74), Shaw (McDonald 74), Ellerton, Lawrence. Subs not used: none.
REFEREE: J Kerrigan (Cannock).
Saturday, April 19 – Rocester v Boldmere St Michaels, 3pm.
Monday, April 21 – Heath Hayes v Rocester, 3pm.
Saturday, April 26 – Walsall Wood v Rocester, 3pm.