Derby de­light as Stags stretch win­ning run

Rossendale Free Press - - Sport -

LAN­CASHIRE AMA­TEUR PRE­MIER DI­VI­SION ROSSENDALE FC ............ 2 OLD BLACKBURNIANS .. 0 ROSSENDALE made it five wins from five in the league on Satur­day with a hard-fought vic­tory in an east Lan­cashire derby.

Af­ter a two week lay­off due to the weather it was key the Stags got the game on and didn’t lose any­more ground in the league.

Con­di­tions were noth­ing short of ter­ri­ble with tor­ren­tial rain at times and a hor­i­zon­tal gale blow­ing right across the pitch.

In the first half Rossendale had to kick into this wind and this made them come un­der some early pres­sure from a side that have played twice in the past two weeks so weren’t as rusty as the Stags.

The Rossendale de­fence were well adept at what was thrown at them and de­fended set pieces well. The mid­field of Craig Watts, Stephen Claxon and debu­tant Will Fos­ter were work­ing re­ally hard and when they got on the ball linked up well with for­ward Carl Lo­max who ev­ery­time he got the ball made it stick and al­lowed the pacy Fos­ter to sup­port.

On 30 min­utes the stags put the ball in the net when a shot come cross from left back Jonathan Heap found Paul Hooper in the box who dis­patched the ball with ease, but was ruled out for off­side. Five min­utes later Hooper wouldn’t be de­nied though as he broke the dead­lock with a bul­let header from a cor­ner that smashed the base of the left hand post and went in.

Into the sec­ond half and as the wind picked up the game be­came very scrappy and seemed to be played down one side of the pitch as it was so dif­fi­cult to even get the ball out the other flank due to the wors­en­ing con­di­tions.

Cap­tain Stephen Claxon was re­ally on his game, com­mu­ni­cat­ing well, mar­shalling the side and lead­ing by ex­am­ple with a dogged dis­play which re­ally frus­trated the life out of the away side.

One al­ways thought though an equaliser could come es­pe­cially from a set piece as Old Blacks were re­ally dan­ger­ous from th­ese, but again the de­fence who have kept three clean sheets out of the five wins held firm and with five min­utes to go the game was wrapped up when the Old Blacks cen­tre half mis­judged a headed back­pass and put it be­yond his own keeper.

Af­ter the game joint man­ager Steven Main­war­ing told the Free Press: “I’m very happy with the three points.

“They’ve gone out today and some­what gone back to ba­sics in re­ally tough con­di­tions. It cer­tainly wasn’t the great­est foot­ball you’re ever go­ing to see but you have to roll your sleeves up some­times, dig in and get the re­sult as that’s all that mat­ters.

“We had to draft in our re­serve keeper, we still have a few long term ab­sen­tees, but I was re­ally happy with the two debu­tants that played in Will Fos­ter and Lewis Jel­ley, both 18-year-old and both looked more than ca­pa­ble at this level.

“We need to take this now into Satur­day at home against Howe Bridge Mills.”

‘We have some­what gone back to ba­sics in re­ally tough con­di­tions’

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