Studley 1 v 1 Rocester
EDWIN Asante-Ahenkorah’s ninth goal of the season ensured Rocester came away from the Beehive with a point on Saturday which lifted them up into third place in the Midland Alliance table.
However, the Romans had little else to be positive about on the day after a completely uninspiring performance against a Studley team looking to stabilise after a run of six games without a win.
With play concentrated in the congested midfield areas, neither team looked capable of stamping any authority on the game and there were few moments of note during an untidy and largely uneventful first period.
Rocester threatened briefly when Wayne Johnson got up well to meet Rob Perks’ 14th minute corner but he could not quite direct his header on target and the ball was easily cleared by the home defence.
With no sign of a breakthrough at either end the stalemate was surprisingly broken on the half-hour mark after Studley’s Tom Lacey broke well down their left flank.
As the ball was played across the edge of the Rocester area Matty Collins arrived and had time to place a low shot into the bottom right corner of Richard Froggatt’s net.
Less than five minutes later Rocester should have been level, but Chris Sterling’s lob over home goalkeeper Sam Brady just dropped over the bar.
The Romans injected some muchneeded tempo into their game after the break and almost immediately clawed their way back through Asante-Ahenkorah, who wriggled his way clear of two defenders before firing a powerful drive that was superbly palmed around his right post for a corner by Brady.
Mark Hands was not far away from doubling Studley’s lead soon afterwards with a clever back-header when a long free kick was pumped into the area.
And as the game began to open up slightly another good chance fell to Rocester’s Sterling, who met a Joe Rogers cross with a first-time volley that flew a yard over the bar.
Manager Dave Langston made a double substitution after an hour, replacing midfielders Perks and Adam Swain with the more robust pairing of Ryan Pirrie and Darren Bullock.
However, Rocester still found it difficult to create anything clear-cut, although Rogers and Carl Allen were combining well on the left and appeared to be the likeliest source of a way back for the Romans.
Another good early pass from Allen sent Asante-Ahenkorah racing to the byline and he delivered a dangerous low centre across the goalmouth that was unfortunately just too far in front of Bullock, who had made a good run in towards the far post.
The Romans were fast running out of time and ideas, but their doggedness eventually produced an opening and a deserved, if slightly controversial equaliser 12 minutes from time.
Allen, Rogers and Jack Langston exchanged passes just inside the Studley half, and the ball was popped high over the home defence who to a man had all pushed upfield.
Sterling was trotting away from goal and would clearly have been several yards offside had he gone for the ball, but as the Studley players waited for the flag to go up, Asante-Ahenkorah raced through from an onside position to head the bouncing ball over Brady before tapping it into the empty net.
Having drawn level the Romans seemed to sense a late victory, and they almost sneaked it inside the last five when Langston collected a clearance 20 yards out, only to fire narrowly wide.
GOALS: Collins 30 (Studley). Asante-Ahenkorah 78 (Romans).
STUDLEY: Brady, Bonazebi (Dempster 59), Lacey, Batchelor, Turner, Cole, Hands, Blake, Edgington, Edwards, Collins (Pilgrim 62). Subs not used: Hewitt, Lynch, Pulisciano.
ROMANS: Froggatt, McComisky, Rogers, Johnson (Holland 86), Swain (Pirrie 59), Allen, Langston, Perks (Bullock 59), Sterling, Asante-Ahenkorah, Grocott. Subs not used: Smith, Hill.
REFEREE: M Pearson (Dudley).