Hilton Harriers 1 Rocester 2
By Sam Goldsworthy
Romans Edge Past Hilton Harriers Test
Two goals from front man Callum Riddell proved enough to see off a very strong and competitive Hilton Harriers side 2-1 as the Romans completed a 100% pre-season programme with six wins from six.
Playing their fourth game in eight days, Rocester fell behind to an early fifth-minute goal as the Harriers started strongly, but once the Romans found their feet two excellent finishes from Callum Riddell saw them squeeze home and set them up nicely for the season ahead.
It was the Romans who had the first opportunity of the match inside the opening two minutes when Riddell saw an effort from inside of the box fly just off target, but after their good start they paid for a defensive error to go 1-0 behind. From a corner the Romans left a Harriers forward in space, and he slipped a low shot under Binks to break the deadlock.
Hilton's tails were up and they could have shocked Rocester further shortly afterwards when a decent shot from outside the box went just wide of the left hand post.
Rob-Ritchie Smith was slowly getting into the game and floated a free kick over the bar and away for a goal kick. However Rocester got themselves back on level terms midway through the half when Oli Roome played a lovely ball through into the path of Riddell, and after some neat footwork he wasted no time in prodding the ball past the Hilton keeper to bring the scores level at one each.
The slowly improving Romans almost scored again when Roome got onto the end of a great cross from the right, but unfortunately his effort went just wide.
Sebastian Szondi had the next Rocester chance as his header from a corner dropped just over the bar, but Hilton were certainly still causing problems for the Romans defence and two good chances inside five minutes went begging as shots failed to hit the target. This brought an end to an excellent half of football with no clear dominating side in the game.
The second period saw four subs for the Romans. Albert Lansdowne, Tom Brown, Roome and Ritchie-Smith were replaced by Joe Brockley, Dean Bromley, Ryan Griffin and Scott Wesson.
The half almost started the same as the first half with Hilton nearly going ahead. The Hilton centre back came up from the back and almost put a powerful header from a corner into the goal but luckily for Rocester it went just over the bar. A real let off which the Romans learnt from for the rest of the game.
It took until 57 minutes for Rocester to have their next chance as both sides scrapped for control of the game. That man again Callum Riddell had another of his now classic long range efforts but this time he couldn’t place it on target and it went wide of the right hand post.
However Rocester did eventually gain on control and they went ahead on sixty two minutes. Substitute Ryan Griffin turned really well inside the box with the ball and found Riddell who showed his composure in the penalty area to fire a shot past the outstretched Harriers keeper and into the net.
The final quarter of the match saw Rocester control proceedings with very little threat from the home side as they began to tire. The returning Ritchie-Smith had a good effort from the left of the box but his shot was straight at the keeper who saved comfortably into his chest.
Roome was the next to get behind the Hilton back line as we was sent through by Tom Brown, but his dinked effort was put narrowly wide.
Scott Wesson had two great efforts to extend the Romans lead in the last five minutes but both flew wide of the target.
A competitive Hilton side almost snatched a very late equaliser in a game that wasn't as straight-forward as many expected, but Rocester ended their pre-season with six wins from six, 21 goals scored and only 5 conceded.
Romans: Binks; Frost; King; Allen; Aliguma; Lansdowne; Brown; Szondi; Riddell; Roome; Ritchie-Smith. Subs used: Brockley; Bromley; Griffin; Wesson.
Top Right - Callum Riddell gets to the ball first. Click on any image to enlarge.
Above Left: Ryan Griffin has a shot blocked.
Above Right: Sebastian Szondi shields the ball.
Below: 1 - Callum Riddell on the ball.
Below: 2 - Callum Riddell scores Rocester's first goal.
Below: 3 - Matt King breaks forward.
Below: 4 - Oli Roome takes on a defender.
Below: 5 - Pete Aliguma gets up well to win a header.
Below: 6 - Rob Ritchie-Smith in control.