Rocester 4 v 0 Castle Vale JKS
ROCESTER eased into the first round proper of the FA Vase with a straightforward victory over Midland Combination Premier Division strugglers Castle Vale JKS on Saturday.
Dave Langston’s side simply had too much quality and firepower for their spirited opponents.
And had the Romans been more clinical in front of goal they might well have doubled their tally on the day.
However, they did what was necessary to book their passage with plenty to spare and they go into the next round with high hopes of making further progress after being drawn against West Midlands League outfit Bewdley Town.
They will visit Hillsfield on October 13 following their convincing 3-0 win at Leek CSOB.
Rocester had a little warning during the opening moments of Saturday’s game when Richard Learnihan was not picked up as he moved into space just outside the area, but Chris McComisky darted across quickly to avert the danger.
The Romans were on their way in the eighth minute after some good work on the left by Craig Smith and Carl Allen, who sent a teasing cross into the area where the towering figure of Darren Bullock arrived to send a meaty header flying into the net.
Chances began to arrive frequently for Rocester and visiting keeper Aaron Burkett kept his side in contention with a fine diving save to push away Edwin Ahenkorah’s stinging 20-yard effort.
A few minutes later there was another let-off for the visitors when from near the right corner flag, Allen delivered a lovely free kick towards the far post.
Wayne Johnson timed his run perfectly and got up well to meet the ball, but his header flew wide.
Bullock, playing in a more advanced position than normal, fired a shot straight into Burkett’s midriff, and on the halfhour mark a quickly taken free kick gave Ryan Pirrie the chance to skip past a defender into the area.
His angled shot was very well saved by Burkett, who flung himself to his left to get a strong hand to the ball, and although Bullock reacted quickly as the ball flew towards him he could only head it over.
Another chance opened up to Ahenkorah, but the normally reliable hit-man went for power rather than direction and blazed his shot way over the bar.
Despite controlling the game, Rocester still had not put their opponents away and just before the break they could easily have been pegged back when Learnihan went for goal, but his shot was deflected narrowly wide.
Rocester finally pushed home their superiority with three second half goals.
Johnson was first to ease any remaining doubts with a trademark far post header from Ryan Grocott’s 52nd minute corner, before the goal of the game from skipper Craig Holland made it 3-0 in the 66th.
Holland’s strike had a touch of the ‘Ricky Villa’ about it as he wormed his way past four tackles inside the box before neatly chipping the ball over the advancing Burkett.
Unlike most of Rocester’s opponents this season, the visitors had at least prevented Ahenkorah from finding the net, but the Romans highlighted their credentials 20 minutes from time when substitute Jordan Nadat became their 13th different player to hit the target.
The alert Nadat made the most of the situation when some sloppy passing in the JKS defence allowed him to intercept the ball before stabbing it past Burkett.
GOALS: Bullock 8, Johnson 52, Holland 66, Nadat 71 (Romans).
ROMANS: Froggatt, McComisky, Rogers, Johnson, Bullock (Perks 78), Allen, Pirrie, Holland (Langston 78), Smith (Nadat 64), Ahenkorah, Grocott. Subs not used: Swain, McLeod.
VALE: Burkett, Hanlon, Lung, Obi (Boyce 82), Greaves, Barfield (Acton 73), Gorle, Duxbury, Garbett, Dunkley (Hadland 64), Learnihan. Subs not used: None.
REFEREE: A Murphy (Loughborough).