F.A. Vase 1st Qualifying Round
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Heather St. Johnís 1 Rocester 8
Rocester will face Kirby Muxloe at Hillsfield on 3rd October in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the F.A. Vase after the rampant Romans rattled in eight goals to see off the challenge of Heather St. Johnís on Saturday.
A devastating display of finishing from Mark Wilsonís side saw Rob Ritchie-Smith lead the way with a hat-trick including a second-half penalty; Karl Demidh and Danny Martin netted a brace each and the returning Dan Brown also added his name to the score sheet.
The Romans were unbelievable in the final third, and after David Yonwin had missed an early chance for the hosts there was no stopping Rocesterís strikers as they found the net time and again with some stunning goals.
The game was held up momentarily when referee Richie Watkins was unable to continue with a back strain, but things were soon underway again after senior Assistant Ian Mitchell took the whistle.
Rocester seized further control of the game in the 25th minute when Demidh doubled their advantage with a memorable effort from distance. The striker caught everybody by surprise when instead of delivering a cross he curled a super shot inside the far left-hand post.
Demidh had Wood scurrying to his left to keep out a well-hit free kick on the half-hour mark, but the keeper was left helpless again soon afterwards when Ritchie-Smith bagged his second. Starting the move off near the halfway line with a neat turn that left two Saints players for dead, Ritchie-Smith slotted the ball through for Dan Brown to have a poke at goal. Wood made a decent block to deny Brown, but when the striker retrieved the loose ball and pulled it back into the mix Ritchie-Smith arrived to steer it through the crowd into the net.
Number five followed almost immediately thanks to a clinical finish from Dan Brown, who marked his return to the club in fine style after more good approach play from the Romans.
Richard Froggatt in the Rocester goal was called upon to make an excellent stop to push away Ryan Caputoís powerful shot during the early second-half exchanges, and at the other end Wood left his line to make a similar save after Demidh broke through on goal.
But it didnít take Rocester long to further increase their advantage following a slick passing move that saw Demidh and Ritchie-Smith move the ball well to tee up Danny Martin, who opened his Romans goalscoring account with a nicely-placed low shot from 18 yards.
Dan Brown chipped one just over the bar before the home side grabbed a consolation just after the hour with a goal that involved two former Rocester players - Dan Wain and Jacob Sturgess. It was substitute Sturgess who had only been on the field for a moment who sent a header past Froggatt at the far post following a free kick.
Ritchie-Smith completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Dan Brown had been felled, and he was only denied a fourth goal by Wood who made a fine save from Ritchie-Smithís far post volley after Connor Mason picked him out with a great cross from the right.
Danny Martin capped probably his best game to date for the Romans when he slid in to steer Josh Williamsís pass past Wood for number eight four minutes from time.
It was the first time since the 8-0 thrashing of Newhall United in a Derbyshire Senior Cup tie back in November 1990 that the Romans have bagged eight goals on the road, and their biggest winning margin away from home since Stapenhill were beaten 7-0 in a Midland Alliance fixture in March 1998.
With no midweek fixture the Romans are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Loughborough University in a Midland League Premier Division fixture (3pm).
Scorers: Saints Ė Sturgess (61). Romans Ė Ritchie-Smith (8) (36) (67 pen), Demidh (25) (40), D.Brown (43), Martin (57) (86).
Saints: Wood; Olanipekun; Rain-Thrall (Sturgess 60); Ryder; Wain; Oliver; Hickling (Jackson-Berary 28); Caputo; Yonwin; Lapworth; Fournier. Subs not used: Mills; Handley; Allsop.
Romans: Froggatt; D.Allen (Nutt 67); C.Allen; Fogg; Mottershead; Moran; Martin; Sowter; D.Brown; Demidh (Mason 57); Ritchie-Smith (Williams 72). Subs not used: Shaw; T.Brown.
Referee: Mr. R. Watkins (Nuneaton). Replaced by Mr. I. Mitchell (Rugby) after 9 mins.