Wednesday 16th April 2008

 

Staffordshire Senior Cup Final

 

Kidsgrove Athletic 0 Rocester 3  (At Vale Park)

 

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Manager Steve Swanwick and Captain Carl AllenSuper Rocester provided their legion of travelling supporters with a night to remember at Vale Park last night when they thumped old rivals Kidsgrove Athletic to lift the Staffordshire Senior Cup for the first time.

To a man the Romans were simply outstanding from start to finish - strong and brave at the back; energetic and creative in midfield; and most importantly, deadly in front of goal.

Apart from a surging run and shot by Aiden Matranga ten minutes into the game Kidsgrove had few answers to the lively Romans, who were busy getting their eye in with Dave Shaw, Mark Hodson and Tommy Smith all trying their luck from outside the area.

The two Martins – Gadsby and Heath – were dominating in midfield and a fine run by Gadsby led to a decent effort from Ashley Sheridan being well collected by Grove keeper James Coates low down to his right.

Rocester finally made the breakthrough in the 28th minute after the tireless Tommy Smith chased a lost cause out on the left and forced a corner. Sheridan fired it across and Dave Shaw timed his run perfectly to head past Coates from 10 yards.

There were a couple of scares at the other end when Dan Smith had to clear quickly from Phil Hadland after Dean Latham had parried a Ashley Hill effort, and Latham then made his best save of the night to turn Michael Lennon’s angled shot past his left-hand post for a corner.

But Rocester were straight back down the other end with Tommy Smith driving over the bar from 20 yards.

Seconds before the interval Rocester won another corner, and Shaw once again got on the end of Sheridan’s kick only for Richard Eyre to hook his looping header off the line.

Nine minutes into the second half Rocester got a second goal, and it was another Sheridan set-piece that provided it. This time it was from a free kick wide on the left, and when it reached Tommy Smith on the far side of the area he brought the ball down and drilled it into the bottom corner.

Rocester were in dreamland, and with a two-goal cushion they were oozing confidence. Little flicks and the odd Sheridan back-heel were all coming off, and Shaw rifled a shot into the side-netting after he had controlled Dan Smith’s throw-in.

A famous victory was sealed when a third Romans goal arrived after 70 minutes, and they had saved the best till last. A smart move down the left allowed Sheridan plenty of space to swing a great cross deep into the area, and Heath arrived right on cue to send a brilliant header into the top corner.

Kidsgrove enjoyed probably their best spell in the final ten minutes, but it was too little too late.

Jubilant scenes greeted the final whistle, and captain Carl Allen received the trophy to end a 20-year wait for Rocester to win a cup final.

Champagne flows in the dressing roomScorers: Romans – Shaw (28), T.Smith (54), Heath (70).

Romans: Latham; D.Smith; Allen; Gadsby; Ruddock; Henderson; Hodson (Sowter 80); Heath (Brown 85); Shaw; T.Smith; Sheridan (Maxwell 87). Subs not used: Bennett; Bailey.

Kidsgrove: Coates; Elder; Eyre; Morris; Kielthy; Hill (Edwards 67); Matranga; Baker; Jones (Everall 80); Lennon; Hadland. Subs not used: Tainton; Lovatt; Storer.

Yellow Cards: Romans – Heath, Allen.

Referee: Mr. S. J. Martin (Stafford).

Attendance: 460.

Men of the Match: Rocester.