06:00 Tuesday 24 December 2013

Rocester striker missing for crucial Boxing Day fixture

Written byDOM MILLS

BIG MISS . . . Rocester striker Dan Brown is unavailable for the Midland Alliance game with Heath Hayes BIG MISS . . . Rocester striker Dan Brown is unavailable for the Midland Alliance game with Heath Hayes

ROCESTER will have to cope without star striker Dan Brown for the Boxing Day clash with Heath Hayes at Hillsfield, kick-off 3pm, writes DOM MILLS.

Brown has netted twice in three games since becoming Dave Shaw’s first signing.

The former Norton United forward scored Rocester’s consolation in Saturday’s 5-1 drubbing at in-form Wulfunians.

Brown, who is heading back to Whitby for Christmas, has also played a major role in every other goal since he arrived at Hillsfield, and is a major loss for the clash with a team down in 17th place in the Midland Alliance.

Shaw said: “We have to deal with it at the end of the day.

“He’s come in and looked good. That was a positive from the game (against Wulfrunians).

“Brown’s goal was a really good finish.”

Of equal concern to Shaw is a lack of width in his side – and a tendency to crumble after conceding the opening goal.

“We’ve a lot of midfielders but no real width,” said the Romans boss, who is close to signing an unnamed wide player – potentially in time for Saturday’s trip to Boldmere St Michaels.

Rocester matched Wulfrunians in the opening stages of last weekend’s game, but the hosts doubled their advantage three minutes after Jake Sedgemore’s opener.

Three goals in a 10-minute spell after the break killed off the game, as Wulfrunians threatened to replicate the 7-0 drubbing inflicted on the Romans back in August.

Shaw said: “I don’t think we deserved to lose 5-1.

“They had a deflected free kick for the opener there’s nothing you could do about that.

“I don’t think it (Wulfrunians’ fifth) was a penalty.

“I recognised a few of their players – they do have some good quality in their team.

“I think it was a case of having that mentality of going 1-0 down and thinking ‘we are going to lose the game’.

“Once the third went in we had a 10 or 15-minute spell when we were just not at the races.”

The only solution to that trait will be found on the pitch according to the Rocester boss.

He said: “It’s about going behind and then coming back to win a game.

“Until we do that it won’t be out of the system properly.

“I think it’s also a matter of being patient.”

Rocester remain third from bottom in the Midland Alliance.

Only a superior goal difference separates Shaw’s side from the two teams, Continental Star and Gornal Athletic, immediately below with all three sides on 13 points.

A four-point gap has opened up to 19th placed Heather St John’s, but the new manager remains confident of steering Rocester to safety.

“In the game against Dunkirk we played really really well.

“I think we will be hard to beat at home.

“This season is about staying out of the relegation zone.”

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