Gornal Athletic 3 v 2 Rocester
ROCESTER were sentenced to a first defeat of 2013 by highflying Gornal Athletic on Saturday.
The Romans are the only team to have beaten the Black Country side in the league this season, a feat they achieved on the opening day, but they fell short of putting on a repeat performance this time around.
The hosts took just five minutes to get their revenge mission off the ground when Chris Rabone swung a ball over from the left for Rion Francis-Mills to direct beyond Rocester keeper Richard Froggatt with a clinical finish.
Pete Wood was denied the chance to double Gornal’s advantage shortly afterwards when his shot was blocked by Carl Allen at the expense of a corner.
However, Rocester levelled the score midway through the half in spectacular fashion.
The fleet-footed Edwin Ahenkorah skipped past three opponents before squaring for Chris Sterling, and although the striker’s initial shot cannoned into the air off a defender he met it as it dropped with an excellent overhead kick to equalise.
Ahenkorah went close himself with a powerful strike just over the bar, and he also did well to cut inside and set up Adam Swain, only for the latter to see his effort blocked.
The hosts were quick out of the blocks after the interval and Froggatt had to deal with more than one dangerous aerial ball as well as seeing Francis- Mills’ effort out for a corner.
Unfortunately, he was powerless to prevent Dave Meese from putting Gornal ahead once more after the midfielder was left with time and space in the area to control the ball before producing a composed finish into the bottom corner.
The lead was short-lived, as within five minutes Froggatt claimed an aerial ball before sparking a quick counterattack which was completed by Ahenkorah slotting the ball past Matt Martin.
Driving forward in numbers, Gornal pressed heavily for the winning goal and found it on 70 minutes when Rabone capitalised on some static defending to fire a left-footed effort past Froggatt.
Mike Perks also fired an effort against the frame of the goal as the hosts maintained control of the game.
Ahenkorah continued to be Rocester’s most potent attacking threat, turning his marker but finding his route blocked to goal.
On another occasion he beat three men and played a neat one-two with Ryan Pirrie, only to be unable to get sufficient power on his shot.
Although a late rally saw the Romans force four corners in as many minutes as the match entered injury time, none led to the hoped for leveller.
GOALS: Francis-Mills 5, Meese 55, Rabone 70 (Athletic); Sterling 24, Ahenkorah 61 (Romans).
ATHLETIC: M Martin, Green, Wood, Tilt, Waterhouse, Wilkhoo, Perks, Meese, C Martin, Francis-Mills (Weyman 77), Rabone (Halil 76). Subs not used: Nicholls, Moore, Sangha.
ROMANS: Froggatt, McComisky, Allen, Rogers, McLeod, Bromley (Grocott 64), Swain, Langston (Smith 86), Pirrie, Sterling, Ahenkorah. Subs not used: Johnson, Bullock.
YELLOW CARD: Rocester — Pirrie.
ROMANS STAR MAN: Edwin Ahenkorah — set one up, scored another, and was Rocester’s main threat.
REFEREE: A Glazzard (Stourbridge).