MISSED chances and controversial refereeing decisions frustrated Rocester as they went down to what, on the face of it, appears to be a comprehensive defeat at Boldmere on Saturday.
However, it was anything but a stroll for the high-flying Mikes, who rode their luck during the first half before knocking the stuffing out of the unfortunate Romans by rattling in three goals in a seven-minute spell around the hour mark.
Rocester belied their lowly league position with a positive opening 45 that ought to have seen them lead at the interval.
On a difficult surface they created great chances, the first of which fell to Dan Brown when he burst clear onto Tom Ellerton’s pass, but his shot was well-saved by James Beeson, who blocked with his legs.
Just minutes later the hosts responded with a miss of their own when Ross Clark’s effort from 20 yards hit the bar with debutant Romans keeper Connor Cannon well-beaten.
Continuing to take the game to their lofty opponents, Paul Whalley blazed an effort high over the bar before another good chance fell to Brown. This time the striker met Ellerton’s deep cross with a diving header that drifted agonisingly wide.
Boldmere should then have opened the scoring but unmarked Mark Rose could not get his shot away and somehow Alfie Holland and goalkeeper Cannon managed to block and clear.
Two more excellent chances came Rocester’s way before the break, both of which fell to Brown. First, he tried to hook the ball over Beeson only for the keeper to get back to save, and soon afterwards he homed in on goal again only to see his shot bundled wide.
Rocester continued well after the break, with Jason Beardsley firing a free kick narrowly over the bar before Tom Brown was denied by Beeson.
Decisions appeared to be going against the Romans and their growing angst towards the match officials was heightened when Lee Osbourne was allowed to race clear on Boldmere’s right from what looked to be an offside position.
He forced a diving save from Cannon with his shot, and from the resulting corner Cannon was clearly fouled as he went to punch the ball. However there was no whistle, and Simeon Maye was on-hand to open the scoring.
With Rocester still seething they fell further behind just a minute later. Beardsley should have cleared, but after he kept the ball in play referee Kevin Carroll increased Rocester’s sense of injustice when he failed to award a free kick for a high boot which allowed Ross Clark to curl home.
The game had been turned on its head, and a crazy seven minutes was completed when Cannon raced out to clear a long ball only to trip Maye, who had just got there first, right on the 18-yard line. The striker made no mistake from the penalty spot to complete Rocester’s misery.
GOALS: Maye 55, 62 pen, Clark 56 (Mikes).
MIKES: Beeson, Gorle (Houghton 80), Baker, Neilson, Gould, Forde (Dean 82), Calkeld, Clark, Maye, Rose, Osbourne (Doyle 63). Subs not used: Reeves, Rhodes.
ROMANS: Cannon, Beardsley, Holland, Whalley, Allen, Wain, T Brown (Dunlevy 85), Ellerton, Shaw, D Brown, Lawrence (Rutland-Jones 65). Subs not used: Smith, Littler.
YELLOW CARDS: Romans – Ellerton, Whalley, Cannon.
REFEREE: K Carroll (Acocks Green).
ROCESTER’S next two fixtures are against the two teams in the bottom three with them. Thursday – Continental Star v Rocester, kick-off 7.45pm. Saturday, January 11 – Rocester v Gornal Athletic, kick-off 3pm.