Saturday 4th September
Rocester FC v Sandbach Utd FC
NWCFL Division One (South)
And so it was, with their optimism and confidence renewed (following the creditable 1-1 draw at Brocton FC after the recent poor run), that the Romans welcomed the 'in-form' Sandbach Utd to Hillsfield...
From the off, Sandbach dominated and within five minutes, they struck the post.
The Romans countered almost immediately. However, Alex Cimino’s header was wide of the target.
Sandbach had other ideas, however and in the seventh minute, Matthew Sumner somehow kept possession of the ball whilst being tackled by no less than three Rocester players, before he tried to head in a Callum Chapman cross, but it was forced out for a corner.
Bobbie McDonnell met the corner with a powerful header, but a Rocester defender flicked a boot out to divert it onto the bar and out for an incredible goal-line clearance!
The next five minutes saw multiple attacking moves by Sandbach which were cancelled out by Charlie Wood’s excellent keeping skills!
Sandbach maintained the pressure and were rewarded with another corner in the twenty first minute. From the corner, Chris Rowntree propelled a goal bound header only to see it blocked!
In the twenty fourth minute, the Romans went close when a deflected clearance by the Sandbach defender looked as though it was about to dip into their goal, however goalkeeper Merner had other ideas and made an excellent save!
Rocester were beginning to turn the tables, however, in the thirty second minute, Sandbach created another couple of good chances… to no avail.
In reply, Rocester countered, and a really good cross found the advancing Liam Dawson. Unfortunately, the resulting header was just off-target.
From this point to half-time, Sandbach continued to dominate with numerous forays and another corner, but the Roman’s defence remained intact.
Half-time score RFC 0-0 SUFC.
After the re-start, it was more of the same with Sandbach dominating the proceedings and Rocester occasionally breaking for a counter attack, and five minutes into the second half the Romans were handed a golden opportunity when they were awarded a penalty for handball.
Unfortunately, ‘keeper Merner made a brilliant save to deny the Romans.
Over the next ten minutes, Sandbach created three more excellent chances – the first two missed but the third shot brought out yet another stellar save by Charlie Wood!
However, in the fifty ninth minute, Aaron Knight ran the ball into the Rocester box and picked out Robbie Hatton perfectly. Hatton’s first-time shot flew into the far side.
The next ten minutes saw yet another excellent move by Sandbach followed by a counter attacking move by the Romans only to see a goal bound shot hooked off the goal line to deny an equaliser!
The next five minutes saw the Romans soak up more pressure before Charlie Wood made an exceptional ‘point-blank’ save to keep the Romans ‘in touch’.
Another five minutes saw the Rocester defence still ‘in the thick of it’ when once again, the Romans countered and saw substitute Challis Johnson, muscle his way past O’Connell and fire in a shot past the Sandbach ‘keeper from an acute angle for an equaliser! – What a way to make your debut!! (Scoring on your debut seems to be a regular occurrence at Rocester!).
Score RFC 1-1 SUFC.
Immediately, Sandbach went on the hunt and created yet another superb chance which saw Robbie Hatton’s ‘shot on the swivel’ just miss the top corner of the Romans’ goal.
The Romans countered and it was ‘that man’ Challis Johnson who got onto the cross to fire home his second! – Talk about ‘Super Sub’…..
Score RFC 2-1 SUFC.
Of course, Sandbach continued to press, but it just wasn’t to be!
Full-time score RFC 2-1 SUFC.
Although Sandbach harried and pressed (and took the lead), the Romans dug in, rode their luck, countered the opposition and thanks to two clinical finishes from 'new-signing' Challis Johnson, ran out 2-1 winners!!
What a great team effort!