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Week 18 Preview – Rocester

Saturday will see the Ravens hit another little landmark on this incredible journey they’re on.

The fixture against Rocester will see us hit the halfway point of the North West Counties Football League Division One (South) season and by 9pm Saturday evening we will have played every team in the league at least once. Little landmark, yes, but still a landmark.

After the disappointing results in the FA Vase and at Cheadle Town at the back end of last month we’ve hit another good run of form, winning four games in a row, during which we’ve hit the back of the net 22 times! As we approach the halfway stage of the season it looks as if the Ravens will maintain their position as the top scorers in the league.

The first two home games of the campaign have been huge successes for the club both, on and off the pitch, and tomorrow we welcome Rocester to the Bowl for what should be another classic encounter.

Our Opponents this Week

Rocester are another club from Staffordshire and currently sit 18th in the league, however, their league position may be a little misleading.

While they have mustered only four wins this season, they have proved to be a hard team to beat. They have been unlucky to be on the wrong side of a number of odd goal defeats, not least the late loss they endured at high flying Abbey Hey last Saturday where only a goal in the fifth minute of injury time gave the visitors the points. The Romans demonstrated however, that they have great character and bounced back with a mid-week win on Tuesday at Ellesmere Rangers – this time fortune may have been on their side, as it was they that ended up scoring a late winning goal in a 3-2 thriller.

FC Isle of Man Team News

With players slowly but surely being crossed off the injured list, Ravens manager Chris Bass, has been able to select more of settled side in recent games. Although there may be some changes in defence as both Ryan Burns and Chris Cannell, stalwarts at the back alongside skipper Jack McVey in recent games, could both be back in the frame after being unavailable for the trip to Sandbach United in mid-week.

In midfield and upfront, competition for places is really heating up, and it will be interesting to see if there are any changes in those particular units tomorrow. Adam Mealin has started to make a real claim for a regular place in the side and was outstanding on his home debut last week against Stafford Town, deservedly winning the Sponsor’s Man of the Match. The man on fire though remains the newly crowned NWCFL Division One (South) Player of the Month Sean Doyle, who scored his fourth hattrick of the season last week and popped up with effectively the winning goal in mid-week too.

A word about the ‘Benjamin Button’ of the team. 37-year-old Chris Bass jnr (sorry about mentioning the age Bassy) who continues to perform at impressively consistent levels. He’s seen so much in the local game but as he said to this writer after the Stafford Town game last week, this current experience is currently topping it all.

As usual we’re looking to see as many of you, the fans, inside the stadium to help our Ravens fly.