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Roos edged out in ‘Derby’ thriller


ROOS FC went out of the ERCFA Senior Cup in round two last Saturday as they were beaten 4-3 by Humber Premier One side Easington United in a thrilling local ‘Derby’, played in extremely testing conditions at Low Farm.

Despite some persistent rain from mid-late morning, the Low Farm pitch was in pretty good condition apart from a small area close to the far side dugouts that had some standing water, but with referee Steve Spruce doing his bit by forking the area before kick-off, the game went ahead and despite the testing conditions, both sides served up an entertaining game, played some excellent football, in the true spirit of a Holderness ‘Derby’.

Despite playing their league games two divisions below their hosts, Roos were not daunted by the task facing them, in fact, having knocked Easington out of the South Holderness Cup back in late spring, they were relishing another chance to test themselves against superior opposition.

Manager Les Sennett welcomed back goalkeeper Max Watling-Precious who was having his first game of the season having broken his wrist in a pre-season friendly, captain Connor McKinley also returned from a dead leg that caused him to miss the recent home game with South Cave Reserves and striker Liam Murrey also returned having missed the last two games with a thigh injury.

The one disappointment for the visitors was seeing the dual-registered Sam Huteson on the Easington substitutes bench. Huteson, who was eligible to play for either side, deciding to play for the Eastenders, having recently signed Humber Premier forms at Low Farm.

The game kicked off with rain falling and Roos made a bright start to the first half with the late-arriving Ben Littleproud having the first shot at goal on two minutes, but the strike was straight at home keeper Steve Janney.

Three minutes later Littleproud was felled by a lunging tackle but referee Spruce, who was outstanding and the perfect man to referee this game, quickly defused the situation and the ‘Derby’ was well and truly on!

On seven minutes Chris Frost, who was being well marshalled by the pace of McKinley, had a decent chance as he managed to get away from Jack Todd, but his shot was wide of the mark.

The rain started to fall a little heavier and on 13 minutes the impressive Dan Smith gave away a freekick 25 yards out but in a subsequent goalmouth melee, Watling-Precious spilled the ball but he was saved by the fact that Frost, who had swapped wings, had strayed into an offside position and it remained 0-0.

Two minutes later Craig Smalley fired a volley high over the bar following a Frost corner, but the Easington right back was being constantly threatened by the pace and skill of young Jack Bristow down the Roos left and after forcing a corner, Roos deservedly took the lead.

Bristow’s delivery was perfect and former Easington player Stu Campbell arrived on cue to power an unstoppable header past Janney, the centre-half showing great respect for his former club by not celebrating his goal.

Roos were getting on top and were looking the better of the two sides as they looked to double their lead. A superb five-man move started by the impressive Ciaran Collins presented Littleproud with a chance 25 yards out, but his fine strike whistled past Janney’s left-hand post.

With 28 minutes on the clock Watling-Precious produced an excellent save to deny Paul Morrill and a few minutes later, as the action quickly switched to the other end, Murrey tried his luck with a shot from distance that was wide of the mark.

The tackling was fierce and competitive on both sides and Watling-Precious timed one particular tackle to perfection as he denied Frost.

Roos countered once more and after Janney had fumbled the ball, Bristow almost nipped in to double his side’s lead, but the home shot-stopper recovered to regather the ball at the second attempt.

On 34 minutes Smith made an outstanding cover tackle to deny Frost after a good flick on by Anthony Barnett, but moments later, the home side were level; Morrill dinking the ball to the back post where a free Adam Jamieson was on hand to turn the ball home.

Kris Fitzpatrick was then given a ticking off by the man in the middle for a robust challenge on Bristow before Murrey squandered an easy chance, the striker firing wide in a one-on-one situation with Janney when it looked harder to miss than score.

Five minutes before the break the hosts took the lead as a cross from the left found Owen Mountain in too much space and he swept the ball home for 2-1.

Murrey then had an excellent chance to atone for his earlier glaring miss just ahead of half-time but he was denied by Janney who got down to smother the ball as the Roos striker attempted to go around him.

Easington made the better start early in the second half as Mountain firstly fired over the crossbar from 30 yards and then dragged a shot wide when beating the Roos offside trap.

Roos went close to levelling matters when Collins flicked on a Watling-Precious punt downfield that was just too far for Eldon-Smith but on 52 minutes they were dealt a blow as Campbell was forced off with a groin injury, to be replaced by Cam Maplebeck who is slowly getting back to full fitness following an ankle injury.

Moments later Morrill’s shot from distance failed to trouble the Roos goalkeeper and with 55 minutes gone it was 2-2. Maplebeck sent the ball in and as it bounced around in the penalty area, Eldon-Smith somehow managed to get his foot to the ball and despite appearing to be off balance, he was able to lift his volley over Janney for the equaliser. Moments later Roos were attacking again and Littleproud elected to shoot from 25 yards instead of passing to Eldon-Smith who looked slightly better placed, but Janney saved comfortably.

On 57 minutes came the game’s only serious flashpoint as Dan Warcup was rightfully cautioned for a poor late tackle on Eldon-Smith that sparked a bit of a ‘discussion’ between both sets of players but once again, Spruce took control of the situation and with the temperature rising, Watling-Precious made another crunching tackle on the advancing Frost before the action again switched ends when an excellent interchange between Murrey and Eldon-Smith saw the latter fire just over the crossbar.

Ash McKinley replaced a tired Eldon-Smith on 64 minutes and as Huteson was introduced by the hosts, Sennett replaced Bristow with Phil Good, who slotted in at right-back, with the tireless Josh Biglin being moved up into a midfield role.

On 66 minutes, Maplebeck was on hand to make a vital block as Morrill looked to put his side back in front but Easington did just that on 73 minutes with a freak goal. Huteson appeared to illegally block Maplebeck from getting to the ball. Unlike in the NFL where you have seven officials watching for everything, the referee can only give what he sees and at this level, you have to accept it and move on if he doesn’t; but it ultimately proved costly as Frost sent over a deep cross from the right wing that caught the breeze and somehow found its way into the far top corner for 3-2.

Former team-mates Maplebeck and Huteson had a verbal exchange and then reacquainted themselves in a situation that could easily have gotten out of hand, but the goal stood, and Roos had to find a way back into the tie.

Roos moved to three at the back in an attempt to get back on level terms and they defended well as the Eastenders searched for the killer fourth goal. With seven minutes left, it was all on again as Murrey made it 3-3. Collins threaded a wonderful ball inside Andy Graham and as the veteran turned to chase, he slipped over and although Murrey had his shot parried, he reacted quickest to force home the loose ball from close range.

With the gloom rapidly descending and the possibility of penalties looming large, Smith came to the rescue to clear the danger after Watling-Precious had spilled another dangerous cross in, but disaster struck for Roos on 84 minutes as Huteson sent over a teasing corner and Graham arrived unmarked at the back post to head his side back in front.

The home side were able to keep Roos out for the remainder of the game and thus booked their place in the next round.

Defeat was possibly a little bit harsh on Roos, but they certainly tested the home side to the limit and hopefully they can kick on from this very good performance and go on to challenge for the County League Division One title.

However, that is easier said than done and this Saturday they are due to welcome AFC Bilton to Roos and it promises to be another tough test as the two rivals have locked horns numerous times in the last three seasons, with both sides recording victories in some occasionally feisty encounters.

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