A FREAK goal after just four minutes settled this bottom-of-the-table clash in Kirby Muxloe’s favour as Rocester again failed to deliver in front of goal.
The decisive moment followed an early corner for the visitors which had been headed clear as far as Lewis Allen in a wide position on the visitors’ right flank.
His inswinging cross appeared harmless enough as it floated across the area, but as defenders and goalkeeper Wayne Smith hesitated to clear any danger, the ball bounced up against the far post and crossed the line before Smith could scoop it away.
It was a poor goal to concede, and it left the goal-shy Romans with an uphill task that they rarely looked capable of climbing against a physically stronger Kirby side, who moved out of the relegation zone after claiming the three points.
Things might have worsened 15 minutes in when Jamie Allen had a clear sight of goal but this time Smith was well-placed to beat away the low shot.
Rocester’s youngsters had their moments as they tried to find a way back, and Tom Cooper-Richards was expertly marshalled away from goal on one occasion as he threatened to break clear.
Moments later another chance came the way of Cooper-Richards when Benn Minshull cleverly slipped the ball between two defenders to send the striker into the box, and although he got in a decent shot it was too close to goalkeeper Ross Perry, who left his line to make a good block.
Chances were few and far between at both ends, but the visitors would have extended their lead midway through the second half but for Carl Allen’s last-ditch clearance to prevent Stuart Verrall’s shot finding the net after the striker broke through.
Romans boss Mark Kavanagh made changes around the hour with the introduction of Danny Chattwood and debutant Matthew King, which certainly gave his side more impetus going forward.
Chattwood made his presence felt almost immediately when he combined well with Minshull to send Danny Brain away on the left.
With Perry out of his goal, Brain clipped the ball over him towards the net but a covering defender was able to steer it away from danger.
Perry was again called into action when he raced out to boot clear as King loomed in on goal, and although the Romans took the game to their opponents towards the end they did not have enough to find a way through.
The Romans face a daunting trip to Tividale on Saturday, kick-off 3pm. The Black Country side have a 100 per cent record in the league so far having won all eight of their fixtures.
GOAL: Allen 4 (Kirby).
ROMANS: Smith, Cole, Littler (Chattwood 56), Taylor, C Allen, Upton, Brain, Whalley, Cooper-Richards, Minshull (King 66), Dunlevy. Subs not used: Johnson, Daley, Rutland-Jones.
KIRBY: Perry, Wesseldine, L Allen (Armson 14), Hohn, Wilson, Ball, Marriott (Pacey 72), Seal, Verrall, J Allen, Schulz. Subs not used: Statham, Agar, McIntosh.
YELLOW CARDS: Romans – Upton, Cole.
REFEREE: M Murfitt (Stoke).