SIMEON Lawrence is set to be given a chance to shine up front against Tipton Town tomorrow.
Top scorer Dan Brown is unavailable for the Hillsfield clash, kick-off 3pm, but manager Dave Shaw still believes it is a game the Romans should take something from.
“They have always been a side who have not travelled well,” said Shaw. “We drew at their place 1-1 earlier in the season.
“They beat us 3-2 in the cup just before I took over – and we have strengthened considerably since then.
“With us being at home it is a game we should be looking at taking something out of.
The Romans exited the Staffordshire Senior Cup on Tuesday evening, losing 1-0 at Norton United.
Despite the narrow reverse, Shaw was impressed with his side’s defensive display.
He said: “We had Aaron Dillon at left back and Tom Brown at right back.
“It was the strongest our defence has looked since I have been here.
“I was really chuffed with the defensive side of things. We had a couple of chances too.
“The full backs were also bombing on. Aaron Dillon has pace and Tom Brown is pretty quick as well.
“They (Norton) are third in their league and if they win games in hand will go top of the North West Counties League.
“They didn’t create much. George Barlow also made his debut and looked really good.”
The Romans travelled to Norton without the services of goalkeeper Richard Froggatt, midfielders Paul Whalley and Errol Johnson as well as Brown.
Shaw drafted in young Stoke City goalkeeper Dominic Kurasik – who will remain in between the sticks against Tipton tomorrow – while Barlow made his Romans debut after signing from Alsager Town.
With Norton’s pitch too wet to stage the tie the clubs agreed to switch the game to Newcastle Town’s Lyme Valley Stadium.
And on a good surface it was Rocester who created the first chance when Barlow’s excellent pass sent Aaron Cole clear.
Cole took the ball into the area but his low shot cannoned off the legs of home keeper Dan Roberts before it was bundled out of play.
Rocester were a little fortunate to survive on two occasions when crosses flashed across their goal.
Tom Winkle’s long throw-ins were also a threat, but Rocester’s defence remained comfortably intact until four minutes before the break.
Kyle Diskin netted what proved to be the winning goal with a scuffed shot through a crowd of players.
Norton began the second period on top but Rocester fought back and might well have forced an equaliser on the hour when Roberts dived to his right to hold a good 20-yard effort from Liam Shaw.
There was another half-chance for Shaw soon afterwards, but his shot on the run drifted a yard wide.
Inside the last 10 minutes the Romans had a strong penalty claim turned away by Potteries referee Steve Rushton after Richard Smith appeared to handle the ball as he controlled Tom Brown’s cross inside the area.
Simeon Lawrence fired Rocester’s last chance into the side-netting in the closing moments.
SCORERS: Norton – Diskin (41).
NORTON: Roberts, Green, Watson, Smith (J Skellern 89), Fogg, Winkle, Baker, McDonald, Cropper, L Skellern (Marren 82), Diskin. Subs not used: Donaldson; Hawthorne; Hemmings.
ROMANS: Kurasik, T Brown, Dillon, Barlow, Allen, Wain, Ellerton (Lawrence 46), Strzyzewski, L Shaw, Cole, Holland (Rutland-Jones 66). Subs not used: D Shaw.
YELLOW CARDS: Romans – Cole, Strzyzewski.
REFEREE: S Rushton (Stoke-on-Trent).