Rocester 4 v 2 Causeway United
ROCESTER moved into the top four of the Midland Alliance after beating a dangerous Causeway United side at Hillsfield on Saturday.
Two spectacular long-range efforts and a pair of near-identical far-post headers from corners completed an impressive recovery by the Romans, who had fallen behind in only the second minute of the game as the visitors made a lively start.
The Romans were caught napping when the ball was crossed into the area from Causeway’s right and although goalkeeper Richard Froggatt got down well to make a smart save at his near post from Aaron Lloyd’s header, the striker latched onto the loose ball and easily fired it into the net to give his side the lead.
In response, Rocester battled back strongly and were soon in full flow, playing some excellent passing football, with skipper Craig Holland in particular driving them on from midfield.
It was Holland who had Rocester’s first worthwhile attempt on goal when his shot from a few yards outside the area dipped narrowly over the bar.
Soon afterwards, Holland was just off target again after meeting Jordan Nadat’s ball in from the right with a powerful diving header.
Holland found the net at the third time of asking, though, in the 17th minute, and it was a goal worth waiting for.
Edwin Asante-Ahenkorah tackled back well to win the ball in the centre and, after collecting his short pass, Holland strode forward before striking a superb equaliser from 25 yards.
There was no let-up for the visitors as Rocester continued to dictate the play and more chances came their way after Jack Langston’s free kick cannoned off the wall and fell to Nadat, whose shot was deflected for a corner.
Carl Allen delivered the set-piece perfectly to the back post, only for Wayne Johnson to thunder his header inches wide.
Rocester’s pressure eventually paid off just before the half-hour after another Johnson header, this time from Darren Bullock’s long throw-in, was tipped over the bar by Tom Turner.
Allen’s corner again found Johnson arriving at the back post and he made no mistake to put Rocester in front.
The lead, however, lasted just four minutes as the resilient visitors drew level with a fine finish from Lloyd, who met Scott Stevenson’s corner with a lovely side-footed volley that whistled past Froggatt and into the net.
Moments before the interval, Rocester were back in front when another Allen corner was headed home, with Bullock this time finishing from close range.
After the break, it was game on as Causeway looked to get back on level terms and, for 15 minutes or so they had the Romans on the back foot.
However, they never seriously troubled Froggatt, although he had to make a couple of fairly routine saves, most notably from Scott Devlin, whose long-range shot bounced awkwardly in front of the keeper before being safely gathered up.
Asante-Ahenkorah was a little unlucky to have an effort ruled out for handball before Rocester sealed the points with a superb fourth goal 15 minutes from time.
Substitute Ryan Grocott produced a moment of magic when he received the ball in space on Rocester’s left.
After moving a couple of yards infield, he saw Turner slightly off his line and the youngster struck a great shot from close on 30 yards that beat the keeper all ands up.
The game ended on a disappointing note for the visitors when Lloyd was shown a red card after he was spotted aiming a kick at Johnson as the two tangled near the touchline.
Rocester travel to Westfields in the league on Saturday before visiting Heather St John’s in the first round of the League Cup on Tuesday.
GOALS: Holland 17, Johnson 29, Bullock 44, Grocott 75 (Romans); Lloyd 2, 33 (United).
ROMANS: Froggatt, Pirrie, Rogers, Johnson, Bullock, Allen (McLeod 57), Nadat, Holland, Langston (Sterling 72), Asante-Ahenkorah, Kinch (Grocott 50). Subs not used: Swain, Perks.
UNITED: Turner, Martin, Meacham (Beasley 19), Pritchard, Whitley, Field (Ashman 72), Gregg, Devlin, Lloyd, How, Stevenson (Ward 72). Subs not used: Aston, Poole.
BOOKINGS: Johnson (Romans); Beasley (United).
SENDING OFF: Lloyd 82 (United).
REFEREE: O Spillett (Lichfield).