Rocester 0 v 2 Kirby Muxloe - abandoned after 64 mins
A HORRENDOUS injury to Romans skipper Craig Holland helped bring an end to Saturday’s Midland Alliance fixture against Kirby Muxloe at Hillsfield.
Holland was taken by ambulance to hospital with a broken tibia following an innocuous-looking challenge on the halfway line.
And after a 30-minute delay, Potteries referee Mark Murfitt felt on-field conditions had deteriorated sufficiently enough to call a halt to proceedings after 64 minutes played.
The decision angered the visitors, who were set for victory against a Rocester side already reduced to 10 men following the first-half dismissal of leading scorer Edwin Ahenkorah.
But three hours of continuous rain had left the surface soft and slippery and with another 30 minutes still to play it was a sensible decision.
Kirby may inadvertently have helped the referee reach his conclusion with some of their no-nonsense tackling, which at times could only be described as borderline as they flew into several sliding tackles.
Their close attention to Ahenkorah led to the striker losing his cool just before the interval and he was correctly shown a red card after getting up and shoving his opponent away.
Ironically, Ahenkorah had been enjoying his best game for a while, having curled a superb 12th minute effort against the bar before forcing a particularly good save from goalkeeper Elliot Shilliam, who was at full stretch to tip the striker’s well-placed shot around the post on the half-hour.
Romans keeper Richard Froggatt had already made a fine save from Stuart Verrall, just getting a touch to send the dangerous striker’s effort over the bar before Brett Darby opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a neat side-footed finish.
The woodwork denied Rocester again five minutes into the second half when Ryan Grocott smashed a shot against the underside of the bar after Wayne Johnson had headed a free kick into his path.
But within moments Kirby doubled their lead through Aaron Preston, who raced in to knock a low cross past Froggatt.
GOALS: Darby 21, Preston 53 (Kirby).
ROMANS: Froggatt, Pirrie (Ward 46), Allen, Rogers (McComisky 40), Johnson, Swain, Kinch, Holland, Sterling, Ahenkorah, Grocott. Subs not used: Hulme, Perks, McLeod.
REFEREE: M Murfitt (Stoke-on-Trent).