Westfields 2 v 2 Rocester
A LAST-GASP penalty denied Rocester all three points from an incidentpacked match at Westfields on Saturday.
Under normal circumstances the Romans would have been pleased with an away point against last season’s Midland Alliance runners-up.
But with the 90 minutes up and their opponents already reduced to 10 men following the 68th minute dismissal of Joel Edwards, it was a disappointing outcome for Dave Langston’s men.
With their extra man advantage Rocester looked well-set to see out the five minutes of time added on by Worcester referee Darren Wilding.
However, the hosts were given a huge boost when young Rocester winger Ryan Grocott was sent off for a second bookable offence.
And as Westfields threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser they were awarded a penalty after the ball hit Darren Bullock’s arm as he attempted to clear.
There was barely enough time for Rocester to restart the game after Richard Kear had slotted home the spot kick to level things up.
The game had been keenly contested and played at a high tempo from the first whistle — with Westfields desperate to get revenge for a 4-1 home defeat to the Romans which shattered their title ambitions last season.
Although Rocester played the tidier football during the first quarter they were opened up several times by the more direct Westfields, who should have made more of some clear-cut chances.
Anthony Robbins hoofed a shot over the bar, Aidan Thomas should have done better when through on goal only to prod his shot at Richard Froggatt and Carl Morgan skied a great opportunity at the far post.
Froggatt also had to make a good double- save from Thomas and then Morgan after allowing a cross to slip from his grasp.
But the Romans soon plugged the gaps appearing in their defence.
They were unfortunate not to take a 23rd minute lead when Edwin Ahenkorah was flagged offside after following up to net from Jordan Nadat’s shot, which had been parried by home keeper Jamie Moore.
However, nine minutes later they were in front when Craig Holland’s low drive from a yard outside the area squeezed inside the post, just out of Moore’s reach.
Westfields started the second period as they did the first, with Robbins blazing a good chance way over the bar.
Then on the hour an already fiery contest intensified when the unmarked Jamie Cuss was allowed to rifle in an equaliser after the assistant referee lowered his flag after initially signalling for an earlier offside.
Rocester’s appeals fell on deaf ears, but their response was positive as Grocott forced a good save out of Moore from a free kick before sending another nearidentical opportunity narrowly wide.
The game appeared to have turned in Rocester’s favour when Edwards was shown red for a dangerous lunge at Carl Allen, for which the defender required several minutes’ treatment before being able to continue.
Within five minutes the Romans made their advantage count.
Grocott held the ball well on halfway before setting it to Allen, who played a good ball forward to the tightly marked Jordan Nadat.
With his back to goal, Nadat spun inside his marker Dene Whittall-Williams and darted into the area before poking the ball past Moore.
Westfields continued to battle away but Rocester kept the ball well and did not look like surrendering their lead until the Grocott’s sending off and the hosts’ late show.
GOALS: Cuss 60, Kear 90+5 pen (Westfields). Holland 32, Nadat 73 (Romans).
WESTFIELDS: Moore, S Gwynne, Edwards, Sparey, Whittall-Williams (Jackson 85), Robbins, Jones, Cuss (Triana 65), Kear, Thomas, Morgan (Sirrell 72). Subs not used: M Gwynne.
ROMANS: Froggatt, Allen, Rogers, Johnson (Pirrie 46), Bullock, Grocott, Nadat, Holland, Sterling, Ahenkorah, Kinch (Perks 65). Subs not used: Swain, McLeod, McComisky.
YELLOW CARDS: Whittall-Williams, Jones, Cuss, Morgan (Westfields). Johnson, Sterling (Romans).
RED CARDS: Edwards 68 (Westfields). Grocott 90+1 (Romans).
REFEREE: D Wilding (Worcester).