ROCESTER 1 BOLDMERE St M 9
ROCESTER took an embarrassing thumping when they opened their Midland Football League Premier Division campaign against last season's runners-up Boldmere St. Michaels at Hillsfield.
The Romans can offer no excuses for what was arguably their most inept performance in more than 30 years.
Defensively they were a shambles.
The writing was on the wall very early. Just over a minute in and a long ball over the top allowed Kieran Clarke to race clear, and without a defender in sight he tucked a low shot past keeper Phil Hughes.
Five minutes later it was 2-0 when Kirk Smith picked his spot from ten yards out.
Rocester rallied briefly and Allwyn Thompson missed two good chances when he headed Aaron Dillon's free kick over the bar and then forced a good block from visiting keeper Adam Jenkins.
On 13 minutes the Romans were rewarded when Nick Ward lifted a great chip over Jenkins from 25 yards to reduce the deficit.
Straight from the restart, Dan Wain up-ended Clarke inside the area to concede a penalty, which fortunately for the Romans Clarke fired wide.
But the striker quickly made amends by rifling in his team's third a few minutes later.
What followed was nothing short of a capitulation.
Will Perkins (28) and Charisma Agbonlahor (29) netted simple goals to leave Rocester 5-1 adrift.
Agbonlahor added to his tally on 37 and three minutes later Kieran Westwood netted to make it 7-1 at the break.
Romans boss Dave Shaw, serving a suspension away from the dug-out, made three changes at half time which did at least tighten up things.
However, it was Boldmere who found the net for the eighth time in the 75th minute through Smith, who smashed a rising shot past Hughes.
Rocester's humiliation was complete ten minutes from time when Clarke completed his hat-trick after rounding the exposed Hughes.
Hughes, who could hardly be blamed for any of the goals, made a great save from Clarke seconds from time to prevent the Mikes reaching double figures.
ROMANS: Hughes; Beardsley; Allen; Brannan; Wain; Foster (Nutt 46); Dillon (Ellerton 46); Upton; Ward; Brown; Thompson (Riddell 46). Other subs: None.
REFEREE: J Scerri (Stafford).