It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Rooks took to the field on a beautiful sunny day at the Kent seaside to take on Herne Bay on the opening day of the season. For those at the game it won’t be James Hammond’s last-gasp winner that will stick in the mind rather the outstanding performance of keeper Ben Hunter who single-handedly kept the Rooks at bay for 90 minutes. It was one of the best goal-keeping performances we had seen in a long time and on Saturday Hunter should be back between the sticks at The Pan.
After Wednesday’s frustrating defeat to Corinthian Casuals where The Rooks simply didn’t take advantage of their first half dominance, Darren Freeman will be looking for three points to consolidate the lead at the top of the Bostik League South against a Herne Bay side who have enjoyed a decent first quarter of the season. Since playing us on the opening day they have won six and lost five of their games (they certainly can’t be accused of playing for the draw as they haven’t finished all square with anyone yet!), including a last-minute defeat at Thamesmead Town on Wednesday night.
They enjoyed a purple patch of form in late August, scoring 28 times in ten games, although in that run of matches they also recorded a painful 10-1 defeat away at Tonbridge Angels in the League Cup. More recently their form has taken a dip with five defeats from their last six games which included cup defeats to Margate and Cheshunt. Jake Embery is the dangerman with eight goals so far, the only ever-present apart from Hunter.
Their away form in the league this season has seen them win two and lose four, whilst that defeat on Wednesday night for the Rooks sees our record at The Pan reading four wins, two draws and one defeat. One slight concern has been we’ve only scored ten at home this season, something Darren will look to put right on Saturday.
In terms of squad news, Ronnie Conlon had to come off at half-time on Wednesday suffering from a nasty stomach bug but should be back in contention in an almost full-strength squad.
Kick off at The Pan on Saturday is 3pm. Admission is £11 for Adults, £6 for Concessions and Under16s admitted free when accompanied by an adult.