Heath Hayes 2 Rocester 0

Tuesday 16th October 2012
Heath Hayes 2 Rocester 0
Staffordshire Senior Cup First Round
At: Coppice Colliery Ground
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1 (28 pages)
Weather: cold, dry
Attendance: 38
Duration: first-half: 45:12; second-half: 51:14

Ten-man Heath Hayes joined neighbours Hednesford Town in the quarter finals of the Staffordshire Senior Cup after a 2-0 victory over Rocester with both goals coming from midfielder Lee Smith. Leading with a 27th minute penalty, the home side had goalkeeper Adam Lane harshly sent-off for handling outside his area just after the midpoint of the second half. The ten-men kept out the Romans and wrapped up the win with a sweet low strike in the closing stages.

I’ve been waiting for a midweek game involving Rocester for seven weeks since I saw the impressive 4-0 win over Continental Star at Hillsfield. Tonight the Romans travelled to fellow Midland Alliance side Heath Hayes whom I’ve visited far too infrequently considering they are a really friendly club just ten miles from home.

The pitch at the Coppice Colliery Ground runs lengthways from the entrance with two separate seated stands, additional covered standing and changing rooms all down the left-hand side. Arriving early, just in case the game had fallen victim to a waterlogged pitch (I should have worried), I met ‘Cannock Rob’ who I’d last seen at Holbrook St Michaels a few weeks ago. A teamsheet was prominently displayed outside the changing rooms though Barry Smith, the Rocester Secretary, read out the line-ups.

Both sides went into the tie in good form. Heath Hayes (17th in the league with 10 points from 10 games) were unbeaten in the last four games while promotion-chasing Rocester (6th with 18 points from 10 games) had lost just one of their last nine league and cup games.

Heath Hayes (in blue and white stripes) got the game underway attacking from right to left in relation my seat in the ‘white’ stand alongside Steve Davies, Dan Bishop and Barry.

Played at a frantic pace from stand to finish, Heath Hayes created all of the early chances and Rocester goalkeeper Richard Froggatt was twice called into action to save a header from Tom Baggott and shot from Tom Green.

Referee Stuart Eagland, who took charge of the Hednesford v Stone tie I saw last month at Keys Park, awarded a penalty to the home side just before the half-hour mark when Lee Smith went down inside the area, Smith got up to confidently blast the spot kick past Froggatt to give his side the lead.

Rocester immediately responded and almost equalised when Chris Sterling’s rising drive hit the underside of the bar and bounced down the wrong side of the line from the visitors’ point of view.

In Rocester’s programme against Bewdley on Saturday, the editor (aka Barry) mentioned that they ‘now have an official Twitter account @rocesterfc1876’ so those not at the game were given the bad news…

Heath Hayes 1 Rocester 0 - 27th min penalty. Chris Sterling almost equalises straight away but shot hits underside of bar

Froggatt kept his side in contention in the 39th minute. The flag stayed down at Chris Deakin latched onto a defence-splitting pass and looked to place a shot in the far right corner of the net. However, the Rocester ‘number one’ [wearing 19] dived to his left to push the ball to safety.

A galvanised Rocester side came out on the attack in the second half. Adam Lane got down to save a near-post shot from former Ajax player Edwin Asante-Ahenkorah, then a defender to thank for hooking the ball clear after an initial save from Sterling.

A potentially-game changing incident occurred in the 71st minute. Lane left his line to meet a ball down the right as Mensah Kinch raced forward. Both met the ball on the edge of the area and the nearby assistant raised his flag to indicate a free-kick to Rocester. The referee stopped play and consulted his assistant before awarding a free-kick to the Romans and producing a red card in the direction of Lane for handling outside his area. Harsh, in my opinion, as I’m not certain the goalkeeper actually denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Barry gave the Rocester fans some hope…

20 mins to go, Heath Hayes GK sent off handled outside area, Rocester still trailing 1-0

Deakin donned the yellow jersey and gloves for several minutes before being replaced by substitute Ben Maddox, who I was told knows how to keep goal.

Heath Hayes who scored a second goal to book their place in the quarter finals. Smith hit a sweet low drive past the diving Froggatt from the edge of the area.

Heath Hayes 2 Rocester 0 - the 10 men double their lead. Into the last 10 mins

As I mentioned, Maddox knew how to keep goal and produced a top drawer save in the 86th minute to keep out a low long-range shot hit by Joe Rogers. He also kept out a header from Kinch as well.

Full credit to Heath Hayes who never let their heads drop after Lane was sent off. I suppose a home tie against Hednesford is the one they will be wanting when the quarter final draw is made.

Such a friendly club certainly deserves to not be ‘visited far too infrequently’ by myself. I must return sooner rather than later. Badges on sale at the tea bar.

Heath Hayes (blue and white stripes / blue / white): 1. Adam Lane, 2. Brad Grice, 3. John Littler, 4. Lee Smith, 5. Tom Baggott, 6. Adam Robinson, 7. Craig Hancox, 8. Stuart Simpson, 9. Tom Green, 10. David Waple (capt), 11. Chris Deakin. Subs: 12. Adam Wood (not used), 14. Karl Wallis (for Hancox, 90+6), 15. Leadrun Dunlevy (not used), 16. Kieran Northwood (for Green, 90), 17. Ben Maddox (for Deakin, 75).

Rocester (amber and black stripes / black / black): 19. Richard Froggatt, 2. Dan McLeod, 3. Joe Rogers, 4. Wayne Johnson, 5. Ryan Pirrie, 6. Mensah Kinch, 7. Jack Langston, 8. Rob Perks, 9. Chris Sterling (capt), 10. Edwin Ahenkorah, 11. Adam Swain. Subs: 12. Chris McComisky (for McLeod, 72), 14. Darren Bullock (for Pirrie, 79), 15. Carl Allen (not used), 16. Ryan Grocott (not used), 17. Craig Holland (for Perks, 81).

Referee: S. Eagland (Lichfield).
Assistants: R. Gould and B. Butler.

1-0 Lee Smith (27 pen)
2-0 Lee Smith (82)

Heath Hayes: Adam Lane (RC, 71)
Rocester: Rob Perks (YC, 50), Ryan Pirrie (YC, 61)