Tuesday 11th July 2017
Rocester 5 Mickleover R.B.L. 1
By Sam Goldsworthy
Romans start Pre-Season with solid win
Rocester got their pre-season preparations for their upcoming 2017-18 Midland League season away to the best possible start by seeing off a well-drilled Mickleover R.B.L. side on an extremely wet Tuesday night at Hillsfield.
This was both sides' first warm-up game and at times in the second half this became very evident as the game slowed down with little goalmouth action, but Manager Danny Martin and his side need not have worried as the job was done in the first half with five good goals - two from Callum Riddell and one each from Scott Wesson, Oli Roome & Rob Ritchie-Smith.
The visitors did threaten with a goal of their own to equalise half way through the first half but the Romans saw off the threat and comfortably saw out the game with some good football considering it was the first game of the season.
There were a number of new faces in the Rocester line-up that started the game. Most notable was Goalkeeper Charlie Wood who was given the first half to impress the management team to see if he is the man to take over from departing keeper Richard Froggatt. But familiar faces in Martin Smyth, Oliver Roome, Scott Wesson & Callum Riddell were named amongst the starting eleven.
The game got off to a slow start with only one real chance coming in the 2nd minute from Oli Roome who had a powerful shot saved by the R.B.L. keeper only for the ball to come out to Tom Brown whose shot rebounded off a defender and out for a throw in.
But the game soon came to life and in the 11th minute Rocester took the lead. Callum Riddell (pictured above) got the ball and drove in from the right hand side of the box before side-footing a shot past the keeper into the bottom corner to score Rocester's first goal of pre-season.
This seemed to galvanise R.B.L. and they could have levelled five minutes later but the number 9 Bradley Ellis's shot from outside the box went just wide of Charlie Wood's right hand post.
But it wasn't long before the Central Midlands League visitors had the goal they deserved. On 18 minutes David Moon turned the Rocester defence really well and slotted a powerful shot from close range past the keeper who had no chance from such close range.
After the set back Rocester set about going up another notch and re-took the lead 3 minutes later. Callum Riddell again picked up the ball in the box from Matt Nutt and turned inside the box to strike a nice finish into the bottom left of the net. A good start from Riddell to make it 2-1 to Rocester.
This soon became 3-1 on 29 minutes as midfielder Scott Wesson scored from outside the box, taking a deflection on the way in but they all count and Rocester found themselves with a two goal lead which took the game away from R.B.L.
Both sides exchanged a share of the game with no real chances coming until the 43rd and 44th minutes when a double sucker-punch left Rocester 5-1 up going into the break. First Oli Roome latched onto a ball that was played over from the left hand side, and despite attempts to clear the ball it fell kindly for Roome who struck a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
Then moments later Rob Ritchie-Smith was played clean through, splitting the defence in half as he ran clear to slot the ball past the out-rushing keeper. This brought the first half to a close with the Romans leading comfortably at 5-1.
A few changes from both sides resulted in a very subdued second half as the rain continued to thrash down onto the pitch.
Romans captain Martin Smyth had the first real chance of the half on 54 minutes as he took a shot from the edge of the box but it just went narrowly wide of the left post.
Two minutes later a scramble in the Rocester penalty area could have resulted in a second goal for R.B.L. but a shot was cleared off the goal line before another went just wide of the goal. A wake up call the for Romans that the game was definitely far from over.
R.B.L. were still a real threat and had another chance on 57 minutes as substitute Samson had a poor shot saved easily by sub keeper Adam Binks.
This woke Rocester up and a well-struck free kick was comfortably saved before Matt Nutt sent a shot way over the bar following a corner.
The final chance of the match came on 84 minutes when a brilliant counter attack from the Romans resulted in the ball being squared to Oli Roome who had a great chance to make it 6 but unfortunately placed his effort just wide.
That was it for action as the game came to a close. Many positives to take from this first friendly for the Romans but also plenty to work on but a good start all round.