Rocester FC v Coventry United FC
Midland Football League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 24th February 2018
Venue: Hillsfield Stadium
Well hello one and all. After the disappointment of the defeat against Worcester City last week, we today make the long trip to Hillsfield to take on Rocester FC.
Rocester have had a disappointing season so far and are currently languishing at the foot of the table. They will though I’m sure be looking to repeat their performance of last season when they defeated United 1-0 and have already drew 2-2 with United earlier this season back at the Butts Park Arena.
United manager Terry Anderson will have been busy during the week sorting out the vacant goalkeeping position left after the surprise retirement of Richard Morris. On paper most would say this should be a straight forward United win but we should not underestimate our opponents as we already have suffered from losses to the so called lower teams.
The referee gets the game under way and the Romans waste no time in pressing forward right from the off. They win an early free kick in a good position half way into United’s half that’s taken by the No4 Dean Bromley. His cross picks out the No9 captain Mark Smyth and his shot brings out a good early save out of the United debutant keeper Thomas Dyche in the 1st minute.
The Romans continue to make all the early running and carve out a breakthrough when they break down the right in the 6th minute. The Romans No7 Ryan Baker does well to whip in a lovely cross into the heart of the United area where the No8 Scott Wesson poises himself to despatch a deadly shot that gave United’s keeper Dyche no chance for the opening goal with a crisp finish.
ROMANS 1 UNITED 0
It takes until the 17th minute for United to register their first shot at goal. United pressed forward and the ball was played out to Shaquille McDonald who was in space 22yrds out and decided to try his luck but sadly his effort was easily gathered by the Romans keeper Charlie Wood.
That United pressure was short lived as the Romans were back on the offensive. United’s keeper Thomas Dyche’s risky throw out of the ball caused a few problems for his team mates and as they tried to clear the ball away to safety United’s Jamal Clarke tripped the No9 Mark Smyth inside the area and the referee pointed straight to the spot for a penalty in the 20th minute. Mark Smyth picks himself up to take the penalty and duly sends Dyche the wrong way and into a 2-0 lead.
ROMANS 2 UNITED 0
Well that’s not what the Red and Green army were expecting, 2-0 down on 20 minutes. United have started sluggish and are struggling to get into any kind of rhythm. They now have a big mountain to climb if they are going to get anything out of this game. The Romans are to be fair looking good for their lead and are definitely up for this game.
United try to respond with a Dominik Alleyne shot that falls kindly for the romans keeper Wood in the 24th minute. They start to get their act together and begin to retain the ball for longer. A good spell of United pressure finally pays off in the 36th minute after some good build up play by United’s Kevin Thornton. After skipping past a couple of Romans he plays the ball into the six yard box where United’s Tommy Glasscoe is on hand to tap the ball into the net from close range to put United right back into the game.
ROMANS 2 UNITED 1
A scrappy goal for the Romans to concede but who cares! United are now back in the game after a very shaky start. United continue to press and finish the half strongly as in the 45th minute that man Kevin Thornton does well again before slipping the ball wide to Brad Jones on the right. Brad Jones moves the ball forward before sending over a high deep cross that loops over the Romans keeper’s head and into the back of the net to level the scoring on the stroke of half time.
ROMANS 2 UNITED 2
The game resumes but shortly after the referee blows up for half time and what a half that was.
ROMANS 2 UNITED 2
The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes. In the 49th minute the Romans make their first change of the afternoon when they take off the No5 Joshua Ross and send on No12 Dale Stewart.
United have started this half a lot better than the first and go looking to get their noses in front. They break quickly in the 54th minute with Lewis Rankin making good progress down the right before sending a good cross towards Shaquille McDonald. Shaq does well to create some space to get his shot off that brings out a fantastic save that went out for a corner that was in turn easily dealt with.
Soon after the first yellow card of the game was awarded to the Romans No3 Oliver Pratt for hauling down Gift Mussa in the 57th minute.
United continue to make all the running in this half and another great chance soon follows when United’s Shaquille McDonald is fed the ball just inside the area in the 62nd minute. Shaq twists and turns before seeing his goal bound shot miraculously saved by the Romans keeper Charlie Wood from close range. Then soon after disaster strikes when a moment of stupidity from United’s Niall Rowe sees him get his marching orders with a straight red card for seemingly elbowing the Romans No10 Eric Graves in the 65th minute.
The Romans decide to make another change in the 66th minute when they take off the No11 Sam Griffiths and send on the No14 Matt King.
With 20 minutes remaining United are still on top in this half despite being a man down. They continue to press and work the ball forward with purpose in the 70th minute. United’s Dominik Alleyne picks up the ball wide on the left and in space and 25yrds out decides to send a beautifully flighted curling shot into the top corner of the net for a fantastic goal to put United into the lead.
ROMANS 2 UNITED 3
Well that goal deserves to win any game but can United manage to hold on to the lead for the remainder of the game? This game has been a very competitive game so far with plenty of meaty tackles from both sides. United’s Dominik Alleyne gets himself booked for a tackle in the 74th minute and tempers seem to be fraying on both sides.
United decide to make their first change when they take off Lewis Rankin and send on Aaron Opoku in the 75th minute. After only 3 minutes of coming on United’s Aaron Opoku is also booked for what looked like a fair challenge in the 78th minute. Then with the game now into the last 10 minutes, United make a couple of changes by taking off Dominik Alleyne and sending on Kyle Barnett in the 82nd minute and then taking off Kevin Thornton and sending on Robert Prinzel in the 85th minute.
The romans finally managed to have their only shot on target in the second half in the 88th minute that sees the No8 Scott Wesson shoot tamely into the arms of the United keeper Thomas Dyche.
The game moves into added time with over 7 minutes being played but United manage to hold out for the victory and a very welcome hard earned 3pts.
ROMANS 2 UNITED 3
In summing up this game I would have to say DIG DEEP AND NEVER GIVE UP. United started this game in a sluggish mood and the Romans took full advantage and raced into a surprise 2-0 lead with only 20 minutes gone. United soon after started to wake up and by half time had turned it round and clawed their way back level with two goals of their own.
The second half saw United completely dominate and created some really good chances and if it was not for a couple of fantastic saves by the Romans keeper Charlie Wood, the score line would have been far more convincing. The winning goal for United was a cracker of a goal that I’m sure Dominik Alleyne will saver for ever and apart from the opening 20 minutes United were good value and deserved winners for the 3pts.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the Romans keeper Charlie Wood for his string of great saves to keep his team in the hunt and the No9 captain Mark Smyth who led the line really well and was causing United plenty of problems until he picked up a knock.
For United, they all battled well in a very competitively fought game. Dominik Alleyne had a really good game today and looked very comfortable when going forward. He crowned his performance by scoring the winning goal with a cracking long range curling shot that no keeper would have stopped. But for me today, my man of the match goes to Kevin Thornton. Kevin was instrumental in almost all of the attacking play for United claiming two assists. He was always looking to receive the ball and moved forward with purpose causing the opposing management team to shout out instructions to their team to make sure that Kevin didn’t get the ball. Best complement of all I would say Mr Thornton so very well played.
Match stats United Romans
On target (8) (3)
Off target (3) (2)
Corners (2) (2)
Free kicks (12) (8)
Yellow cards (2) (1)
Red cards (1) (0)
Offside (3) (2)