Saturday 15th July 2017


Pre-Season Friendly


Rocester 3 Port Vale XI 0


By Sam Goldsworthy


Romans score three to beat young Vale XI


Rocester continued their pre-season preparations with an excellent 3-0 victory over a very youthful Port Vale side.


They say you shouldn’t ready too much into pre-season results but Dan Martin and his backroom staff can be quietly pleased at the way they beat a Football League team and kept a clean sheet to go with it.


On a very cloudy day at Hillsfield it didn’t take long for Rocester to get into their stride, and with just three minutes on the clock Joe Brockley had a half chance when he took a snap shop from outside the area after the ball had fallen to him only for it to sail over the bar.


The Romans had another chance soon afterwards when Rob Ritchie-Smith went in for a 50/50 challenge with the Vale goalkeeper only to come out second best and end up receiving treatment for his troubles.


Captain Martin Smyth also had a chance when he volleyed an effort straight into the Vale keeper’s hands, but the Romans' early pressure was finally rewarded when Chris Martin (pictured) scored a cracking goal to open the scoring. Rob Ritchie-Smith can claim the assist as his pass fell perfectly for Martin, who stroked it into the bottom left corner to give Rocester a lead that they fully deserved.


Rocester's great start to the game almost brought a second goal when Oli Roome drove down the right with good pace, leaving him 1v1 with the Vale keeper, only for his shot to be superbly saved - tipped round the left post for a corner.


It took until the 23rd minute for Port Vale to have a real clear cut chance when Jack Wakefield put a shot narrowly wide of the target. A small scare for the Romans who knew the game was far from over.


Rocester's next opening came just after the half hour mark, Martin Smyth firing a shot into the side netting from the right hand side of the goal.


Another good chance fell to Oli Roome, who again raced clear only for the Vale keeper to produce a fantastic save - it was only by fingertips and was seen as goal kick by the referee and linesman.


But it didn’t matter as seven minutes later it was 2-0 to Rocester. A great ball over from the Rocester midfield found Chris Martin in space, who this time struck an unstoppable volley which sailed into the bottom right hand corner. 2-0 and it was very much deserved by Rocester as the half time whistle blew.


Much like the second half against Mickleover R.B.L. the previous Tuesday, the second half was all about game management as the legs started to slow in this early pre-season friendly. Chances were few and far between for both sides but it only took two minutes of the half for Oli Roome to have another chance to score. He hit a cracker on the left hand side of the box only for the substitute Port Vale keeper to save really well down to his left.


After this point both sides exchanged possession and were cancelling each other out for a large period of the game, but in the 70th minute Chris Martin had a chance to make it 3-0 and grab himself a hat-trick. The ball was sent over by Rob Ritchie-Smith, but Martin couldn’t finish cleanly and instead sent the ball just wide of the left hand post.


However Rocester did finally kill the game off on 82 minutes when Smyth capitalized on a mistake in the Vale defence and managed to round the keeper before putting the ball into the far corner.


There was one last chance for Vale as Kyle Johnson hit a good shot on target but it was well saved by Charlie Wood as he held the ball well in his hands to take the pressure off the Rocester defence and run the clock down.