Coventry Sphinx 1 v 3 Rocester
ROCESTER continued their bright start to 2013 by brushing aside hosts Coventry Sphinx on Monday night.
With the Romans three goals up and cruising, it was only a late defensive lapse that saw the hosts net a consolation goal.
The win gave Dave Langston’s men back-to-back league wins for the first time since August following their 2-0 victory over Heather St John’s on Saturday.
The first half did little to suggest a classic was on the cards, without a noteworthy shot on target from open play for either side.
Rocester had gone closest when Chris Sterling fired in a low cross and Ryan Pirrie was unlucky not to connect having thrown himself at the ball.
Romans keeper Richard Froggatt confidently claimed any aerial balls into the Rocester box, but he was untroubled by off-target efforts from Harry White and Rickie Cutting.
With both sides cancelling each other out, it took a set piece to break the deadlock, when Jack Langston smashed home a free kick on 14 minutes.
Langston was not afraid to try his luck from range all night, and he went close with a deflected left-footed effort.
After a close first half the Romans began to exert their authority after the interval, with Dean Bromley signalling their intentions by sending a long-range left-footed strike just over the bar and Carl Allen firing a similar effort just wide.
Another powerful effort from distance by Langston squirmed out of Sphinx keeper James Connolly’s grasp at the expense of a corner, which resulted in the Romans doubling the lead on 62 minutes.
Adam Swain’s perfect inswinging corner looked goalbound, but Joe Rogers claimed the final touch to make certain.
With the Romans in control, the combative Pirrie — who looked comfortable in his midfield berth — won the ball and fed Sterling, and the striker produced a clinical finish just inside the box for number three.
Langston fired a fraction wide once more, but as the match entered its final minutes the Romans’ clean sheet began to look under threat.
A defensive slip saw White collect the ball and advance on goal, only to be denied by Froggatt, while sub James Ritson fired wide.
Sphinx pulled a goal back when Kyran Johal got behind the Rocester defence to slot the ball past Froggatt and set up a nervy final few minutes.
White was allowed to time to turn in the box only to be denied by a block from Dan McLeod, while in injury time Froggatt reacted beat the Sphinx striker in the race for a through ball.
GOALS: Johal 86 (Sphinx); Langston 14, Rogers 62, Sterling 67 (Romans).
SPHINX: Connolly, Dyke, Hill, Bilic, Atkins (Richey 51), Guest, Jackson, Bannister (Ritson 71), White, Cutting, McNally (Johal 74). Subs not used: Galdins, Holmes.
ROMANS: Froggatt, McComisky (Johnson 72), Allen, Rogers, McLeod, Bromley, Swain, Langston, Pirrie, Leonard, Sterling. Subs not used: Bullock, Kinch.
YELLOW CARDS: Atkins (Sphinx); Pirrie (Romans).
ROMANS STAR MAN: Jack Langston - key role in winning the midfield battle.
REFEREE: M Giblin (Solihull).