Shepshed Dynamo 1 v 3 Rocester
ROCESTER booked their place in the last 64 of the FA Vase for the first time in 26 years with an excellent win at the Dovecote on Saturday against a physical Shepshed Dynamo outfit.
The Romans produced a stirring second half performance to battle back from being a goal down at the break and fully deserved their passage into yesterday’s draw.
On a difficult, sticky surface, Rocester had looked much the better side during the opening 45 minutes.
But they were fortunate to come out relatively unscathed from a five-minute spell around the half-hour mark which could easily have seen Shepshed home and dry.
Firstly, a high ball downfield had the Romans in trouble as it dropped into the area to Rob Mulonga, who had sped clear on his own.
Luckily for the visitors, he was not able to connect with the ball as it came down and Richard Froggatt easily collected.
Froggatt could do nothing four minutes later, however, when Liam Fitzpatrick seized on a loose ball 12 yards out and rifled it into the net to open the scoring.
A Shepshed goal had not looked likely up to that point, but they came within a whisker of doubling their lead barely two minutes later when Shaun Martin’s speculative diagonal effort from distance smacked against the bar with Froggatt well-beaten.
In the face of some intimidating tackling the Romans held their nerve, and with wide players Mensah Kinch and Ryan Grocott coming into the game they began to ask questions of the home defence.
Straight after the break Edwin Ahenkorah did well to hold the ball under pressure before shooting wide and that set the tone for Rocester, although they still had to be alert at the back as Shepshed always looked to break.
Grocott came within a whisker of levelling with a superb free kick that appeared destined for the top corner before Scott Low in the home goal flicked it away at full stretch.
Rocester were not denied and on 57 minutes Joe Rogers controlled the ball inside a crowded area before squeezing home a low shot.
The game was well and truly turned on its head a couple of minutes later when the Romans took the lead with a cracking goal.
Carl Allen won the ball on halfway and quickly fed it out to Ahenkorah on the left. He burst forward and drilled a perfect low cross into the six-yard box, where Chris Sterling arrived right on cue to ram it home.
Rocester had a little scare when Alex Troke beat Froggatt to the ball and shot from a tight angle, however Chris McComisky got back quickly to shepherd the ball safely wide.
Inside the last five a sweeping move should have produced a third for Rocester.
Kinch’s run and cross from the right was unselfishly touched on to Sterling by Ahenkorah, but Low stood up well to make a fine save.
Sterling made amends in the final moments when he burst through, only to be brought down by Low, who was rather fortunate to receive only a yellow card from Mickleover referee James Oldham, who had been extremely lenient all afternoon.
Sterling just did enough with his spot kick to beat Low’s dive.
GOALS: Fitzpatrick 31 (Dynamo). Rogers 57, Sterling 59, 90 pen (Romans).
DYNAMO: Low, Pritchard (Smith 46), Aietan, Wood, Attenborough, McCormick, Mulonga (Adelukan 72), Martin, Fitzpatrick, Troke, Bradshaw (Marson 78). Subs not used: Cole, Perkins.
ROMANS: Froggatt, Rogers, Allen, McComisky, Bullock, Swain, Kinch (Pirrie 89), Holland, Sterling, Ahenkorah, Grocott. Subs not used: J Langston, Perks, Johnson, Ward.
YELLOW CARDS: Fitzpatrick, Wood, Low (Dynamo). Bullock, Holland (Romans).
REFEREE: J Oldham (Mickleover).