Division One South: New Mills AFC 2, Romulus 5
ROMULUS inflicted on New Mills their first home league defeat since April 2010 as the Millers’ disappointing run of form continued on Saturday.
The visitors opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Marvin Johnson’s cross was diverted into his own net by centre-half Clive Brown, but New Mills were back on level terms within five minutes when Leon Grandison linked well with strike partner Daniel Douglas-Pringle. Grandison, who is slowly recapturing his match sharpness after a six-month layoff through injury, was too strong and powerful for Romulus’ defence and he neatly tucked the ball past Chris Jay.
It was Grandison again who nearly bagged another shortly after when a short corner routine saw the ball eventually fall to the unmarked striker but his effort was blocked by the legs of Jay.
Despite the introduction of left-back Dave Fitzpatrick, who made a creditable debut after joining from Northwich Victoria last week, the Millers’ back line was all over the place and looked like conceding a goal every time Romulus attacked.
Only Nathan Walker will know how he missed a near open goal when, with time and space, he shot horribly wide of the target, and then the visitors went even closer to retaking the lead when Ashley Jackson’s effort ricocheted back into play off the inside of James Coates’ post before the rebound was ballooned high over the crossbar.
Romulus regained their advantage six minutes before the interval when Johnson cut inside right-back Michael Bowler and beat Coates with ease from an acute angle. On the stroke of half-time, Johnson was denied by an excellent last ditch tackle from Otis Gorman.
In the second half, Romulus attacked the Millers’ defensive line at their own free will. Twelve minutes after the restart, Johnson capitalised on poor defending from Clive Brown before firing the ball through the exposed Coates’ legs.
Just after the hour, New Mills went desperately close to reducing the deficit but Dave Fitzpatrick’s curling free-kick unluckily cannoned back off the crossbar with Jay well beaten.
With the Millers committing more to attack, they looked vulnerable on the counter attack whenever they lost possession. One such move saw Luke Horrocks dispossessed on the edge of his own box and two passes later, Coates denied Johnson his hat-trick with a low save. Johnson scored his third in the 77th minute when Jackson found the striker and he had the freedom to slot the ball past Coates.
Brief hope returned for New Mills when Phil Male brought down substitute Ashley Stott in the area and Stott dusted himself down to comfortably convert the resulting penalty with ten minutes remaining. Johnson wrapped up the scoring five minutes later. Romulus substitute Marcus Brown escaped the offside trap by starting the attack from his own half and after running 40 yards, he unselfishly squared the ball to Johnson to wrap up a thoroughly miserable afternoon for The Millers and consigned them to a ninth match without victory.
New Mills: Coates, Bowler (Cox), Fitzpatrick, Gorman, Brown (Barras), Innes, Field (Stott), Young, Douglas-Pringle, Grandison, Horrocks. Unused subs: Pickering, Grandison.