Rocester A Kirby Muxloe A

Saturday 24th November 2012
Rocester A Kirby Muxloe A
(Abandoned after 63 minutes due to waterlogged pitch)
Baker Joiner Midland Alliance
At: Hillsfield
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1 (24 pages)
Weather: continuous rain
Attendance: 50 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 45:25; second-half: 18:30

This game was abandoned after 63 minutes with Kirby Muxloe leading 2-0.

First, I’d like to send my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Rocester captain Craig Holland who suffered a broken leg during the second half.

Once again I needed to stay local and fancied a trip to one of my favourite grounds as I’d not seen a full game at Hillsfield since August. Rocester (11th with 21 points from 14 games) stood three places higher than visitors Kirby Muxloe (14th position with 17 points from 13 games). Last Saturday Rocester reached the last 64 of the FA Carlsberg Vase for the first time in 26 years.

For those who haven’t been to Hillsfield before, the ground boasts two stands as well as a decent clubhouse and tea bar. Line-ups are announced over the tannoy and a teamsheet is displayed next to the tunnel.

As I mentioned in my programme article, I saw visitors Kirby Muxloe for the first time on the last day of the 2008/09 season when they avoided defeat at Graham Street Prims win the inaugural East Midlands Counties League title and with it promotion to the Midland Alliance.

Rocester (in amber and black) got the game underway attacking the Mill End in the first half. The best chance during the opening quarter hour fell to Edwin Asante-Ahenkorah who hit a curling 25-yard right foot shot which rebounded off the bar.

In what was an even end-to-end contest, Rocester goalkeeper Richard Froggatt was called into action in the 20th minute to tip over a rising shot from Brett Darby who burst through to get a clear sight of goal.

It was Darby, the Kirby captain, who put the visitors in front two minutes later. Stuart Verrall pulled the ball back from the left bye-line for Darby to flick low into the bottom-right corner of the net.

Soon after, Andy Dakin and ‘Wiretown Editor’ joined me in the stand who had both seen the early game at Uttoxeter Town.

Asante-Ahenkorah caused problems for the Kirby defence and forced a diving save out of Elliott Shilliam just before the half-hour mark. But the Dutch-born striker was sent off in the 41st minute for retaliation.

Chris Sterling had a great chance to equaliser just before the interval but saw his shot blocked by Shilliam.

Rocester almost equalised in the 54th minute when Ryan Grocott hit the underside of the bar. Kirby broke upfield and Aaron Preston glanced home a left-wing cross from Tom Hill to double the visitors’ lead.

However, Craig Holland suffered a broken leg in the 64th minute.

A paramedic car promptly arrived within 10 minutes and after a further 20 minutes of treatment on the field, Craig was stretchered to a waiting ambulance. The referee and two assistants then decided to carry out an inspection before abandoning the game due to a waterlogged pitch – a decision that could not have been easy as Kirby led 2-0 against 10 men. Unlike the match officials, I didn't go on the pitch to check for myself but will add that the continuous rain certainly increased in intensity during the half-hour delay.

Rocester (amber and black stripes / black / black): 19. Richard Froggatt, 2. Ryan Pirrie, 3. Carl Allen, 4. Joe Rogers, 5. Wayne Johnson, 6. Adam Swain, 7. Mensah Kinch, 8. Craig Holland (capt), 9. Chris Sterling, 10. Edwin Asante-Ahenkorah, 11. Ryan Grocott. Subs: 12. Craig Hulme (not used), 14. Nick Ward (for Grocott, 58), 15. Rob Perks (not used), 16. Dan McLeod (not used), 17. Chris McComisky (for Rogers, 40).

Kirby Muxloe (orange with black and white hoop / orange / orange): 1. Elliott Shilliam, 2. Richard Phillips, 3. Mitchell Warner, 4. Adam Hohn, 5. Richard Darlison, 6. Bryn Statham, 7. Elliott Pacey, 8. Tom Hill, 9. Stuart Verrall, 10. Brett Darby (capt), 11. Aaron Preston. Subs: 12. Jamie Mason (not used), 14. Karl Wilson (for Statham, ht), 15. Danny Agar (not used), 16. Ryan Seal (not used), 17. Michael Turner (not used).

Referee: Mark Murfitt (Stoke-on-Trent).
Assistants: B. Rowley and S. Hale.

0-1 Brett Darby (21)
0-2 Aaron Preston (54)

Rocester: Wayne Johnson (YC, 2), Edwin Asante-Ahenkorah (RC, 41)
Kirby Muxloe: Elliott Pacey (YC, 33), Bryn Statham (YC, 43)