Derby delight as Stags stretch winning run
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’