Rocester 0 v 2 Tipton Town
TIPTON Town’s stranglehold over Rocester continued at Hillsfield on Saturday when the Boys from the Black Country returned home with three Midland Alliance points from a solid 2- 0 win.
The Romans have now recorded just one win against the Coolers in their last 17 attempts, and in truth never looked like improving those statistics against big, strong and committed opponents who soaked up what the hosts had to offer before punishing them at the other end with a couple of goals at crucial moments.
Romans boss Dave Langston was able to name just three substitutes as his squad was thinned out through injury, illness and a one-match ban for young winger Ryan Grocott.
Rocester’s cause was disrupted further when two of those named on the bench were forced into action inside the opening 20 minutes when Ryan Pirrie and Darren Bullock both succumbed to injuries.
The Romans started the game looking quite sharp with Mensah Kinch in particular looking dangerous on the right flank.
Kinch provided some good crosses into the box which the visitors were able to deal with, but they were let off the hook when Chris Sterling’s ferocious drive flashed narrowly wide of the target.
Without Bullock’s height and Pirrie’s bite in midfield, Rocester began to lose their way as the visitors got on top and started to dictate.
Their aerial superiority almost brought them an opening goal when Chris Bladen climbed high to meet a deep cross, but Richard Froggatt made the first of several excellent saves to block low down.
Froggatt as in action again soon afterwards to save from Nigel Penney, who fired a low shot to the goalkeeper’s left after being set up by Edwards.
Rocester needed to see out the half on level terms, but less than a minute before the break they fell behind after clearing a corner.
The danger appeared to be over as the ball looped clear probably 30 yards out, but Rueben Wilson, one of three Tipton debutants on the day, smacked a low, rocket-like first-time shot inside the far left post.
An untidy opening to the second half saw a flurry of bookings, but the Romans were on the hunt for an equaliser and they pushed hard to find one.
Sterling met Carl Allen’s free kick just after the hour with a glancing header that Jack Hayfield in the visiting goal did well to scramble around the post for a corner, and Jack Langston was unfortunate to see his cross-shot bounce back into play off the bar as he swung the quickly-taken short flag-kick in from the left.
The visitors were still under the cosh moments later when another melee inside the area was halted by an offside flag as Sterling looked to pounce a couple of yards out, but instead of Rocester finding an equaliser they suddenly found themselves further adrift when they were caught out by a classic sucker-punch.
A long clearance up to the centre circle saw Penney just get to the ball before Joe Rogers, and he nicked it past the defender to leave himself completely in the clear.
Froggatt made a valiant attempt to save the day but Penney squeezed past him before tucking the ball into the net.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of the Romans, who seemed to sense there was no way back for them.
They did continue to go forward but without any conviction as their high balls into the box were repeatedly cleared by Tipton’s tall centre backs.
GOALS: Wilson 45, Penney 70.
ROMANS: Froggatt; McComisky; Rogers; Bullock (Johnson 21); Pirrie (Swain 12); Allen; Langston; Holland; Ahenkorah; Sterling; Kinch. Subs not used: Perks.
TIPTON: Hayfield; Plows; Ashton; Haycock; Huckfield; Foster; Wilson; Tonks; Edwards (Chambers 80); Penney (Waite 75); Bladen. Subs not used: Stone; Henley; Collins.
YELLOW CARDS: Romans Rogers, Langston. Tipton Haycock, Wilson, Tonks.
REFEREE: A Stickley (Coventry).